By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — The Boston Red Sox have a mighty potent offense. They rank fourth in MLB in runs scored, one of just four teams to plate 300 runs thus far int he year. Their .257 team batting average is third-best in the majors, their .435 slugging percentage is second-best, and they’ve hit 22 more doubles than anybody else. They have a professional, formidable lineup.READ MORE: NH Police Searching For Missing 5-Year-Old Boy Elijah Lewis
Except for when they are facing Framber Valdez.
On those nights, they are borderline nonexistent.
Unfortunately for the Red Sox, they’ve now had to face Frambler Valdez twice in a week’s time. Last Wednesday, in his second start of the year, he shut the Red Sox down for seven innings, allowing one run off five hits and two walks while striking out 10. After walking Hunter Renfroe with the bases loaded in the first inning, he retired 11 straight batters. Zero Red Sox reached second base for the remainder of his outing. The Astros won, 2-1.
The Red Sox got a second chance against Valdez on Tuesday night at Fenway, to kick off another series vs. the Astros. It went equally as poorly.
Valdez once again allowed just one run, this time lasting 7.1 innings. He surrendered five hits and zero walks while striking out eight batters.READ MORE: Case Of Rat-Borne Bacterial Disease Identified In Boston
With Martin Perez having a bad start for Boston, the Astros rolled to a 7-1 victory after plating five runs in the second inning.
Overall, the Red Sox are hitting .189 with a .434 OPS against Valdez; they’re hitting .259 with a .760 OPS against everyone else.
Those numbers are obviously going to be skewed, yes. But suffice it to say, Red Sox hitters might not be too sad about the fact that they won’t be facing the Astros — or Valdez — after this week.
But manager Alex Cora is nevertheless hoping they get that chance.
“I mean, he was good. He was good. I think we hit some balls hard, too,” the every-positive Cora said. “You’ve just gotta be disciplined with the breaking ball with him. His breaking ball is that good. It’s one of the best breaking balls in the big leagues. If you expand with it, then you’re in trouble.”
Cora said Valdez’s low walk total is more a reflection of batters chasing that breaking ball outside the strike zone than it is the pitcher pumping in strikes. That aspect has him hoping his offense does indeed get the chance to see Valdez again — a meeting that would only take place in the postseason.MORE NEWS: 12-Year-Old Boy Struck By Car, Seriously Injured In Taunton
“I told you guys last week, we chased 38 percent of the pitches against [the Astros] last week. If you do that, it’s gonna be tough to beat ’em,” Cora said. “[Valdez] was good overall. … We need to be more disciplined against him. And hopefully we can face him again.”