BOSTON (CBS) – In a move that surprised no one on Sunday, the Red Sox optioned struggling outfielder Allen Craig to Triple-A Pawtucket and called up Jackie Bradley Jr.
It’s not surprising because Craig has struggled mightily at the plate this season, and with Shane Victorino (hamstring) set to be activated as soon as tonight, there’s just no reason for manager John Farrell to keep giving the 30-year-old major league at bats.
In 59 plate appearances (24 games) in 2015, Craig is hitting for a career-low .135 average and has just two RBI to his name. Craig is hitting just .154 with runners in scoring position. For the sake of comparison, Craig is a career .343 hitter with RISP.
What on earth happened to Craig? The Boston Globe’s Peter Abraham joined 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher & Rich Monday morning to try and explain.
Abraham notes that Craig injured his foot ahead of the 2013 postseason, and never really recovered for St. Louis in 2014. (You may remember Craig limping to home plate in the World Series against the Red Sox in that controversial interference call)
The injury, plus his irregular at bats in Boston, Abraham believes, have contributed to Craig’s failures for the Red Sox.
This led into a discussion about pitcher Joe Kelly, who walked seven batters and allowed six earned runs in Saturday’s 7-1 Blue Jays loss. It marked the fourth consecutive start in which Kelly allowed at least five runs.
Craig and Kelly were the two pieces Boston acquired at last year’s trade deadline in exchange for John Lackey, a trade that appears to be getting worse by the day.
“You look at [Kelly] and say there’s nothing this guy can’t do, except win baseball games, which is kind of a problem. I think that’s why the Cardinals let him go when they did. They looked at all of their guys and they decided Kelly was the expendable guy when they got John Lackey. You look at that trade and it looked like a pretty good trade for the Sox, and now it’s looking like a pretty bad trade.”
The guys also talked about Mike Napoli (hopefully) getting back on track with his three-run blast in Toronto, the job security of John Farrell and Ben Cherington, and more.