BOSTON (CBS) — Shortstop continues to be the most important position in the field, and Stephen Drew continues to play it well, so he continues to have his name penciled into the Red Sox lineup every day.
But as the games wear on, and Drew’s bat remains ice cold, the frustration level is starting to build for the 30-year-old free agent-to-be.
Drew went 0-for-3 with a strikeout in Game 2 of the World Series on Thursday night, dropping his postseason average to .095. He has just two hits in his last 33 at-bats, one of which was the sky-high pop-up that fell between catcher Yadier Molina and pitcher Adam Wainwright in Game 1.
Though Drew’s teammates have struggled at times throughout this postseason run, they’ve either leveled out back to their normal selves or have come through with memorable hits that help erase some of the negativity. Drew has yet to experience either, but he said after Boston’s loss in Game 2 that it’s coming.
“Sooner or later, I’m going to snap out of it,” Drew said in the clubhouse. “It’s baseball. My career will tell you that.”
The more Drew struggles at the plate, the more fans — in the ballpark, on Twitter or on sports talk radio — want a change. With Will Middlebrooks on the bench and available to play third, Xander Bogaerts could move over to shortstop and solve that issue in one simple step. Yet in part because of Middlebrooks’ own .174 postseason batting average, and in a bigger part due to Drew’s reliability in the field, manager John Farrell hasn’t made that change and hasn’t shown any indication that he might.
Drew’s defense was yet again on display in the 4-2 Cardinals victory, particularly when he made above-average plays on consecutive batters to help John Lackey get through a 1-2-3 fifth inning. But after another oh-fer in the books (his eighth in 12 playoff games), the pressure of the slump will travel with Drew to St. Louis for Games 3, 4 and 5.
“It’s definitely something that sucks right now, with it being the postseason,” Drew said. “I’m taking good swings. It’s just I’m missing that pitch that I need to hit.”