Bunches of blunders: Red Sox continue sloppy play in the field
|08.17.13 at 1:40 am ET|
The Red Sox are not clicking right now. They have lost three in a row for the first time since July 6-8 and have now lost six of their last eight games. But perhaps the most prominent area in which the Red Sox have struggled has been in the field, where they have had seven errors in their last three games.
That struggle was especially apparent Friday night, when Boston committed three errors in a 10-3 loss to the Yankees. The most glaring instance occurred early, when shortstop Stephen Drew lost the handle while transferring a potential double play ball from glove to hand, turning a potential two-out, none-on situation into a no-out, two-on jam. One batter later, Alfonso Soriano blasted a three-run homer that put the Yankees comfortably ahead, 6-0.
“We weren’t sharp tonight,” said Red Sox manager John Farrell. “We set the tone right out of the gate with some mislocated pitches. [Starting pitcher Felix Doubront] gets a good sinker, where he gets a groundball to Drew, and big swing in the game. It goes from what you think is a tailor-made double play to the next hitter driving the ball out of the ballpark and we’re down big at that point.”
It was not just the fact that the errors were happening, but it was the people who were committing the errors. Drew, who committed the first error, is among the top-10 shortstops in the league in terms of his UZR per 150 games (5.8 — meaning he was on pace to save nearly six runs over 150 games). Dustin Pedroia, who committed the team’s third error of the game, is third among major league second basemen with a 10.6 UZR per 150.
While players with the fielding capability of Pedroia are not prone to making errors very often, he was sure to note that mistakes do occur — even for him.
“My error, [Brett] Gardner’s running 3.7 down the line and I got an in-between hop. Stephen’s error, the ball was hit real hard. He just lost in the transfer. That’s baseball. Those aren’t mental mistakes. Those are physical errors. Those happen. Move on to tomorrow and try to play better.”
The third error was committed by Rubby De La Rosa, who fielded a ball down the first base line and threw it away down the line. His errant throw marked the third time in the last three games that a Sox pitcher committed an error while throwing to first, as Lester did the same thing twice on Aug. 14 against the Blue Jays.
The Red Sox have made 70 errors on the season after Friday night’s performance, which is just below the American League average (65). Boston is the only American League division leader that is in the bottom half of the league in fielding.
However, perhaps the three consecutive games with errors is just a slump for the Red Sox, who just ended a 10-game road trip and arrived back in Boston early Friday morning. The Red Sox had played four straight games without committing an error before the beginning of the streak.
“[The errors have] not been common,” Farrell said. “And of late they’ve come in bunches. Whether there’s some fatigue setting in with some guys and their legs, I think defensively you’re going to go through stretches much like we do offensively.”
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