Three things we learned from the Red Sox’ 8-5 loss to the Dodgers
Three things we learned from the Boston Red Sox’ 8-5 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers . . .
1) Jackie Bradley Jr. and Xander Bogaerts need this brief homestand
Two-thirds of Boston’s killer B’s finished a road trip they’ll hope to soon forget. Both Jackie Bradley Jr. and Xander Bogaerts hit below the Mendoza line over the 11-game road trip, batting .150 and .196, respectively. They were both visibly frustrated Sunday -- especially Betts, who slammed his bat after one of his three strike-outs Sunday.
Bogaerts also had another crucial error in the game -- something that’s happened on multiple occasions this year. The pair -- along with Mookie Betts -- have been the talk of the season with David Ortiz on his way out. And the two will adjust. Bogaerts has found himself in similar slumps where his timing is off throughout the season, moving past each one. Bradley’s grown into a top-flight hitter after starting his career shaky in Boston.
But what’s more important: Can they make better adjustments -- and do so quickly -- on their next road trip?
2) Andrew Benintendi is living up to the hype
Andrew Benintendi did it all Sunday. The 22-year-old finished 3-for-4, notching his first career three-hit game. He knocked in his first career RBI. Then he followed it up by knocking in another run, swiping his MLB bag and scoring his first run on a Mookie Betts single to left.
“He’s handled the environment probably as good as you could,” John Farrell on Benintendi. “He’s got a beautiful swing -- that’s evident by the way he approaches each at-bat . . . At one point [he was] probably the only offense we had going for a little while. He’s more than impressed in the games he’s played so far.”
The rookie is giving Boston something it hasn't had all year -- a guy who can play left field everyday. He has passed every test put in front of him to this point.
The next big one for Benintendi will be how he handles pitchers when teams develop an advanced scouting report on him.
3) The remaining 30 road games are going to be a wild ride
The Red Sox dropped to 26-25 on the road with the loss. Somehow they’ve stayed over .500 on the road, even though they went 5-6 on this West Coast trip. Now Boston has 30 road games left on their schedule and find themselves three games out of first place and a half game out of the second Wild Card spot.
This road trip wasn’t the traditional 2016 Red Sox either. The starting pitching was good on the road trip for the most. The hitting was inconsistent at best -- especially given what the hitters have done for most of the season.
While Mookie Betts had a nine-game hitting streak in the stretch and Andrew Benintendi has emerged after the trade deadline, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Xander Bogaerts dove into deep slumps. Hanley Ramirez and Dustin Pedroia both suffered injuries that held them out of games. And David Ortiz proved that first base isn’t exactly his “thing” anymore.
More than anything, the pitching and hitting need to get on the same page. Slug when the pitching’s good, pitch well when the hitting’s rolling.
Easier said than done, but both side have shown they can do the job.
It wouldn’t hurt to execute plays on defense either -- that’s always helpful.