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Why Jonny Gomes isn’t about to panic about Red Sox: ‘I don’t think we’re scuffling’

04.08.14 at 11:23 pm ET
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Forget the 3-5 record, the .211 average with one homer with runners in scoring position and the five ground ball double plays Tuesday night in a 10-7 loss to the Rangers.

Jonny Gomes isn’t worried about the timely hitting yet because, the way he looks at it, the Red Sox haven’t really started. After all, the 2013 Red Sox were the third-best team in all of Major League Baseball in such situations, hitting .278 with 50 homers and a .794 collective OPS. Only St. Louis (.330) and Detroit (.282) were better in the clutch with runners on.

“I don’t think we’re scuffling,” Gomes said. “I don’t think we’ve started. I think it’s too early in the season offensively, defensively, pitching to say we’re scuffling. The starters are barely cracking 40 at-bats right now.”

On Tuesday, the Red Sox were 5-for-14 with runners in scoring position while grounding into a season-high five double plays, one shy of the club record.

“That’s a pitcher’s best friend but it’s early in the season and you want to look at the positive side of things,” Gomes said. “We hit into five double plays and we scored seven runs, I’m sure that’s pretty rare, too. Like I said before, I like where we’re at. If we can score seven runs on five double plays, I think we’re scratching the surface on some things on the positive side.

“He’s got a good downward angle to his ball, a left-hander who is extremely over-the-top with some velocity behind it. Saw some ground balls today from that.”

“I just had my sinker working,” added Rangers starter Martin Perez, who induced all five double plays, including three in the first three innings and five in the first six frames.

Manager John Farrell watched as Felix Doubront made matters worse by giving up five runs in the third inning and the Red Sox weren’t able to recover.

“Once we’re down five, even though we got a number of lead-off hitters on base, we’ve got to be a little bit protective of just giving away outs and it was the ground ball double play that snuffed everything out,” Farrell noted.

“I think [trailing 5-0 and 9-1] speaks for itself. It makes it a lot easier on the starting pitcher and they were able to add some early runs. Playing catch up is tough, especially at this level,” Gomes said.

To Gomes’ point, the Red Sox Tuesday, even in a lopsided loss, started to show signs of warming to the task. They were a very respectable 5-for-14 with RISP, including 4-for-9 and a walk over the last three innings as the Red Sox made things close.

Gomes, 0-for-4 this year with runners in scoring position, would rather just look forward to Wednesday’s starter Jake Peavy.

“Jake is getting his second start [Thursday],” Gomes said. “Two days ago our bullpen sure wasn’t scuffling with all those Ks. We just have put a positive nine together and we’ll roll.”

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