The Red Sox spent the offseason beefing up on offense.

General Manager Theo Epstein put together a team with the highest payroll in franchise history, going after two high-priced bats in the winter. With Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford aboard, the Sox were expected to bash their way to an American League pennant.

One month into the season, the offense has performed well below expectations.

Entering Monday night’s game with the Angels, the Sox had scored 110 runs, ranking them 22nd in Major League Baseball.

Only three AL teams had scored fewer runs. The Red Sox were ninth in the AL in batting average, 10th in slugging percentage, and most shockingly had hit just 22 homers — fifth fewest in the AL.

The lack of power has been shocking. Through 27 games, only three Sox hitters had more than two home runs. With five homers on the season, Kevin Youkilis was the only Red Sox batter in MLB’s top 49 home run hitters.


Gonzalez and J.D. Drew entered Monday’s game with one homer apiece. The Sox hadn’t gotten a homer from a catcher.

RISP has become a nasty four-letter word in Red Sox Nation. Prior to a two-run double by David Ortiz in third inning of Sunday’s game with the Mariners, the Sox had gone hitless in their last 16 opportunities with runners in scoring position.

Those two runs snapped a 16-inning scoreless streak.

And yet the Sox have been able to tread water, hanging within five games of first place in the AL East despite the disappointing start. They’ve done it with tremendous starting pitching.

Red Sox starters began this series with a 3.75 ERA, sixth best in the league. The last three times through the rotation, the starters have gone 8-3 with an ERA under 2.00. That pitching has kept the Sox afloat while the offense waits for a jumpstart.

Perhaps that jumpstart came thanks to a little solar energy. Sunday afternoon, as the shadows began to grow long and the frustration of another low-scoring day crept into the bleachers, Jed Lowrie lofted a one-out fly ball to right field in the ninth inning. Ichiro Suzuki, winner of 10 Gold Gloves, lost it in the sun. The ball bounced off his leg, and Lowrie bounded for third.


With two outs, Carl Crawford stepped to the plate. Crawford, the $20 million man with a .168 batting average, was the poster boy for the team’s slow offensive start.

This was an opportunity to make his mark on the new team. He’d already delivered six walk-off hits in his career, and a seventh would send everyone home happy.

Crawford came through in the clutch. His base hit up the middle scored Lowrie and triggered the best celebration of the season as his teammates mobbed him on the basepaths.

Crawford didn’t try to downplay the significance of his at-bat. “It was like a big weight was off my shoulders,” he said after the game.

“(My teammates) understand I’m going through some things,” Crawford added. “They’ve been really good at trying to get me going and I appreciate that.”

Now, with a disappointing month behind them, the Sox will see if they can keep going as this homestand — the longest of the season — continues. May got off to a great start, and a few more wins would make April a distant memory.

Tom Caron is the studio host for Red Sox broadcasts on the New England Sports Network. His column appears in the Press Herald on Tuesdays.


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