BOSTON (CBS) — The Red Sox are scuffling following a three-game sweep at the hands of the Detroit Tigers, and changes could be coming.
Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal joined 98.5 The Sports Hub’s The Adam Jones Show on Monday night, and while the sweep to the Tigers shouldn’t be viewed as a low-point, it is a good measuring stick for the Boston Red Sox.
“Losing to Detroit, even getting swept by the best team in the American League so far, it could get worse than that. But it’s a measuring stick series and a realization that as they stand now, even in that three-game sample, they do not measure up with what Detroit brings to the table,” said MacPherson. “They clearly upgraded their defense and base-running, and if the Red Sox want to go back to the World Series they’ll have to go through Detroit.”
MacPherson hinted that with the bats struggling to score runs (they mustered just three runs in their three games against Detroit), changes could be coming in the Red Sox lineup. He suggested that maybe Shane Victorino, whose OBP against right-handers is down from last year, moves further down in the in the order with Xander Bogaerts moving up, and with a batting average of just .227 and an OBP of .297, it may be time to end the Grady Sizemore experiment.
“They still want to give Xander Bogaerts and Jackie Bradley Jr. their chances, but maybe you shuffle the lineup,” he said. “Maybe at a point you come to the conclusion that Grady Sizemore can’t do it this year. When it was April 30 it was too early, but now as you’re getting closer to Memorial Day, they have enough information on these guys.”
Will Middlebrooks is back on the disabled list, and his future with the team is unclear given his lack of production and inability to stay healthy. McPherson doesn’t seee Boston signing Stephen Drew, who he thinks will sign after the MLB draft in June when teams wouldn’t have to surrender a pick to the Red Sox upon signing the veteran shortstop.
As for some potential help from down on the farm, Pawtucket third baseman Garin Cecchini is still learning the position but doing well at the plate, batting .301 with a .389 OBP and 20 runs scored in 40 games. He led all minor leaguers in Double-A and Single-A with a .443 OBP in 2013, and now that he’s just a quick trip away from Boston, MacPherson says he’s always in the mix.
“Cecchini started the year in Triple-A, and if you start the year there you’re always in the mix for the majors. The reason he hasn’t come up is they’re not sure about his glove play at third, but there’s a lot of season left to make strides there.”
Also making some noise in Double-A is the versatile Mookie Betts, who is manning second base but can play the outfield as well. His 66-game on-base streak just came to an end, but he’s batting .378 with a .447 OBP, has scored 46 runs and walked 22 times compared to just 13 strikeouts.
“You can see a scenario where Victorino gets hurt and they decide to put Betts in center field and move Bradley over to right — jumping Betts up from Portland,” said MacPherson. “They did that with Josh Reddick, so they’re not afraid to brings guys straight from Portland if it’s the right fit.”