BOSTON (CBS) – The Red Sox have lost six straight games, seven out of their last ten and are in the midst of the franchise’s worst losing streak since the Bobby Valentine days.
This is a team that went through the entire 2013 season without losing more than three games in a row en route to their third World Series title in a decade. At 20-25 and possessing the American League’s third worst record, Boston is just struggling to stay afloat at this point in time.
Red Sox catcher David Ross joined 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher & Rich show Thursday morning to discuss the state of the team and a host of other topics as well.
Perhaps no player better embodies the 2014 season than Clay Buchholz, who’s struggled with consistency and is incapable of capturing last year’s magic, in his case before he got injured.
Ross told T&R he can’t put an exact reason on what’s going wrong for Buchholz and gets the sense it’s more of a mechanical issue — because the velocity is there. Buchholz went just 4.2 innings in last night’s loss and was hit hard by a tough Toronto lineup.
“Yesterday it just seemed like he fell behind some hitters early on in those bad innings and that’s a bad combination for that [Blue Jays] lineup they got over there, especially the top of that lineup. Pretty powerful. Edwin Encarnacion is in a tree right now, swinging the bat really well and hitting the ball really well.”
Consistency, or lack thereof, has been the biggest problem for the 2014 Red Sox, but according to Ross it’s not for lack of effort.
“It’s frustrating. With how we are as a team, a lot of these guys are back from last year and expect to win, used to winning and used to performing well. We’re used to somebody getting a big hit every night, or pitching a shutout, whatever we gotta do to win — it’s frustrating.
“Guys are coming in, we’re working hard and trying to get things figured out where everybody can do their job and we can get this thing back on track. We’re trying to be as consistent a team as we can be on a nightly basis and we’re just not doing that in a lot of areas this year,” said Ross.
Besides the poor play, the biggest news surrounding the team right now is the signing of shortstop Stephen Drew.
“We love Stephen. I think he’s a great player. He’s been around for a long time. He’s a baseball guy. He played some of the best defense last year that I’ve ever been around, in the playoffs especially. You don’t see that stuff as much on TV I don’t think as much as you would appreciate it as a player.”
Ross adds that Drew will help deepen the lineup and “do some special things for us on the field.”
With the acquisition of Drew comes the change of position for 21-year-old Xander Bogaerts. As a batter, Bogaerts looks comfortable at the plate at the major league level. But so far his defense in the middle infield has been suspect, and likely the impetus for the Drew signing.
Fred was curious to know if a positional move like that can be damaging to a young player.
“That’s a good question. I was never a prospect so it’s hard for me to answer that. I don’t know anything about that,” Ross said in jest.
Ross praised Bogaerts and called him the best hitter they had in last year’s World Series, besides MVP David Ortiz of course. Ross added that Bogaerts is “one of the toughest young guys mentally I’ve ever been around. Nothing phases this kid.”
Lefty starting pitcher Felix Doubront was placed on the 15-day disabled list on Wednesday after suffering a shoulder strain when he bumped into a car door — no, seriously.
Ross told T&R he hasn’t heard the details surrounding the freak injury, but says in baseball those sort of things happen regularly. Look no further than Jake Peavy cutting his finger in spring training with a fishing knife.
David Ross has been getting the majority of starts behind the plate when Jon Lester is on the mound, but dismissed the notion he is Lester’s personal catcher.
“[Lester] is such a good pitcher. I don’t know how much of an effect I have on him. He’s a great pitcher. He can do so much with the baseball it makes my job easy. We have a good rapport and a lot of confidence coming off last year’s playoffs. … We’ve created a relationship and there’s comfort there.
“I have [been a personal catcher] in the past. But that’s not the situation here. Our manager will play the matchups and play who gives us the best chance to win that day.”
Listen below for the full interview, including funny stories about Bronson Arroyo from their Cincinnati playing days: