The Red Sox have had a run of trouble at the plate lately, and we were curious to see how it stacked up historically for the team. Using Baseball Reference’s famous Play Index, we have learned that the current streak of five games with two runs or fewer is, in the grand scheme of things, a rather ignominious accomplishment. This is the first such five game stretch in seven years but not the worst such schneid since the Retrosheet era began. In 1978 during the famous summer swoon the Sox went six games with similar ineptitude, winning one while scoring two or fewer runs in a slate of games against Minnesota, Texas, and Kansas City.
- July 25th, 5-2 loss at Minnesota
- July 26th, 2-0 loss at Texas
- July 27th, 3-1 loss at Texas
- July 28th, 4-0 loss to KC at the Fens
- July 29th, 1-0 win against KC at the Fens
- July 30th, 2-1 loss to KC at the Fens
During that stretch 30 years ago, the team hit .198 with an OBP of .238 and 38 men left on base. They had one homer in six games, 33Ks and only 10 walks and one steal. Remarkably, over those six games Red Sox relief pitchers threw a total of 2.1 innings in relief. Total. Five of the games were completed by the starter and only one got a win, Jim Wright on July 29th. Roy Halladay has nothing on those guys, frustration-wise.
This year’s stretch is actually worse offensively, despite the two wins.
- team batting average of .153
- OPS of .419
- 33 whiffs, already
- 4 RBI
- "only" 27 LOB. (We all complain about LOB, but shouldn’t it be clear to us that the higher that number the better off we probably are?)
If Clay Buchholz wins a pitcher’s duel tonight we will be in nearly historic territory. The longest winning streak for any AL team in the last 52 years when scoring two or fewer runs is a mere three. In this context, 3 out of six would be a phenomenal accomplishment considering the level of offensive incompetence. The Sox can steer us away from all of these historical comparisons and save us some time by just busting out of this slump with a big game tonight. For this, we (and our day job) would be very thankful.