It probably wasn’t a good feeling, watching the Orioles homer their way through the Rays pitching staff this weekend. Baltimore scored 31 runs as it swept Tampa in four games, including a Saturday double-header, and with the O’s now taking flight for last place San Diego, the Red Sox, four games behind Baltimore, can’t be too hopeful about any short term lead changes in the AL East.
Naturally, people begin to wonder: how exactly will Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowksi and the front office combat these issues? Surely, they saw what enthusiasm and joy players like Mookie Betts and Jackie Bradley, Jr. brought to their team just weeks ago. But now, they’ve lost everyone from Ryan Hanigan to Brock Holt to Blake Swihart to Pablo Sandoval. There’s a hole in the Sox, and it’s that hole that Dombrowski likely discussed with manager John Farrell during their “long meeting” following Sunday’s 6-2 loss to the Rangers, their eighth defeat in 13 games.
But for anyone hoping a magical Boston trade was in the works to fix everything, Dombrowki emerged from behind closed doors with sobering news, according to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe.
“First of all, we have nine guys on the disabled list, plus we have guys on the disabled list on the minor league level that we would normally bring up,” [Dombrowski] said. “So we’re scuffling for positional players at this point.”
“The problem you run into is that some of those players are coming back relatively soon so you can’t go out and make a trade for some positional player and give up one of your top prospects that somebody asks for a two-week or a week situation.”
Some of the Red Sox wounded will be coming back quite soon, Dombrowski reminds people, and in doing so heaves a bucket of cold water on anyone hoping for an electrifying trade. In the month of June, the Red Sox have slashed .272/.346/.426, which is not terrible; in fact, that OBP is fifth in the AL in that time. But having to play behind the homer-happy Orioles offense, which broke off 12 runs on Sunday just for the hell of it, makes middling numbers like that not up to snuff.
For now, Boston seems to think they will survive this mid-season muddle, with no desire to swap out pieces of the future to fill out an exhausted depth chart. The warm bodies will return, and when they do, Dombrowski hopes, they’ll bring the Red Sox offense with them.
The pitching staff hit a wall over the weekend as well. Boston couldn’t get a decent start out of any one of its hurler, including David Price, who after three straight starts of 8.0 IP could only give the Red Sox 2.1 innings on Friday, surrendered 6 ER, and saw his ERA bounce up to 4.68. Steven Wright and Clay Buchholz didn’t help matters by lasting barely 5.0 IP themselves, though with Buchholz, that has become his reputation as a starter. On the pitching front, there aren’t many injuries to blame.
The Orioles don’t seem to be going anywhere but up, and Boston can’t afford to let too much real estate get between them and Baltimore. It’s a long season, so we’ll see how long Dombrowski wants to wait.