Red Sox Hitting Stride?
By Chris Ryan
To this point in the 2017 baseball season the dialogue regarding the Red Sox outside of the die-hard fans has centered around the David Price- Dennis Eckersley confrontation and how David Ortiz no longer plays for the team.
Until this week the team had been good, but not great. Playing well enough to top the A.L. East or be within shouting distance of the Yankees, but not well enough to create some breathing room.
The Price-Eckersley thing was unfortunate, but insanely overblown. Humans get frustrated and yell at one another. It happens in the workplace and happens in the home. It’s not the best way to solve problems, but is fairly common place, in particular in high stress environments in politics, sports, media and entertainment.
Dustin Pedroia was dragged into this after it was reported he cheered on Price while he was laying into Eck on the team flight and the question of team leadership came up.
The Sox entered their series with the Indians on Monday having lost 14 of 22 games and trailing the Yankees by a half-game.
Since then they’ve won five in a row and lead the Yankees by three games.
Former Red Sox World Series hero Jonny Gomes was instructing a group of kids in Cooperstown earlier this year and asked, “You know how you play left-field? You hit. You know how you play third base? You hit.”
You know how you lead a baseball team?
Baseball is a game where there’s really no, ‘Go get ’em’ speeches.
Players need a clear mind, and to be focused, but not tense.
David Ortiz was a great leader, in part, because he took pressure off his teammates by coming up consistently with the big hit and even if he didn’t everyone believed he would next time. His teammates knew that if they failed, he’d pick them up. Less pressure on Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts, etc.
The acquisition of Eduardo Nunez has helped to fill that void with him hitting 4 HR with 12 RBI in his 9 games since being acquired from the San Francisco Giants.
Over the six-game winning streak, the Red Sox have scored 40 runs (6.7 per game). Over the previous 22, they scored 60 (2.7 per game).
For the time being, the leadership issue has been solved, as it usually is, by hitting.