Punchless Red Sox need offense to start doing its part as road trip begins

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Tomase: Punchless Red Sox need offense to start doing its part originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

OK, Red Sox offense. It has been two weeks. Feel free to wake up.

We are now officially 12.5 percent of the way through the season and the sub-.500 Red Sox aren't losing because of their pitching. On Thursday, they limited the potent Blue Jays to three runs. That's a game they should win.

Instead, Kevin Gausman nearly shut them out and when a rally against closer Jordan Romano fell short in the ninth, they found themselves on the short end of a 3-2 loss.

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They ended up losing two of three to the Jays after taking the opener, and considering that they only scored five runs in the entire series, they should probably be thankful they stole the one they did.

"These guys are grinding," said interim manager Will Venable, who helmed the team after Alex Cora tested positive for COVID. "I think it's obviously an offensive-minded club. We know we have a lot of capable guys and it's just a matter of time before they get back on track."

We've focused almost exclusively on the pitching staff early this season as an area of concern, and that might end up being the case in the long run. But for now, the offense is costing the Red Sox games.

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We've focused almost exclusively on the pitching staff early this season as an area of concern, and that might end up being the case in the long run. But for now, the offense is costing the Red Sox games. They lost two of three to both the Yankees and Jays and now they head to Tampa for three with the dangerous Rays before heading to Toronto for a four-game set next week.

The Red Sox have pitched well enough to be better than 6-7. They've lost three games despite allowing four or fewer runs. Their .233 average ranks 13th in baseball and their .654 OPS checks in at 16th. Because offense is down across baseball, they're basically right around league average in most offensive categories.

But Chaim Bloom didn't build a roster assuming an average roster. With Chris Sale sidelined and the bullpen struggling beyond its top four arms, the Red Sox were expected to slug their way to a number of victories. Instead, they've been largely impotent, save for a nine-run outburst vs. the Tigers and an 8-1 win over the Twins. They've only reached five runs in four of their 13 games.

"It's not fun when you're not playing well," said shortstop Xander Bogaerts, one of the few players who is meeting expectations. "Everyone wants to contribute one way or the other, if it's pitching, if it's defense, if it's hitting. Especially a lot of guys, hitting-wise. You win ballgames when you score runs, so hopefully we have a flight getting in a little early to Tampa, we get a good sleep and come to the ballpark ready to go again."

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The Red Sox offense basically boils down to three men at the moment: Bogaerts, Rafael Devers, and Alex Verdugo. Regulars Kiké Hernández, Bobby Dalbec, and Christian Arroyo are each hitting .200 or less. Travis Shaw remains hitless. Trevor Story has yet to really barrel a ball.

"Obviously we know that's definitely one of our stronger points that we have going for us," Bogaerts said. "Listen man, we had a short spring training. We don't want to make any excuses, but it's tough when you have to try to get your timing back and you have to do it in the big leagues and be quick about it, so I mean, hopefully we'll get hot soon -- sooner rather than later."

That's what everyone's waiting for. Everyone believes the offense would come alive. Meanwhile, the Red Sox keep losing games, so it would be nice to see it.