It might be time for a new approach.

The Boston Red Sox returned from the West Coast after losing 3 of 4 to last-place Oakland. Saturday’s loss, an 8-3 thumping that featured four home runs by the Athletics, stood out as one of the low points of Boston’s season.

The A’s are batting 30 points lower than the Red Sox this season, and they’ve struck out 99 more times than Boston.

Yet they outscored Boston 19-8 through the first three games of the series. They did it with power, launching eight home runs into the mostly empty Coliseum seats. That gave them 64 homers on the season, most in the American League.

Meanwhile, the Red Sox have hit just 38 homers through 43 games, the fewest in the league. If you can’t win with power, you’d better do some other things to manufacture runs.

So on Sunday the Sox turned the pressure up on the A’s with an aggressive running attack that featured a season-high four stolen bases. On three occasions the Sox took an extra base and forced the A’s to make a play. Each time, they couldn’t.


The result was a 12-3 win and smiles in the Sox clubhouse. And a spark of belief that this offense might get going after all.

“You know what? Let’s push the envelope and create something,” Manager John Farrell said after the win. “Sometimes, by running the bases like that, you create some energy in the dugout and get a little push.”

After losing three straight, most Red Sox fans were ready to push this team out the door. The lack of power from this lineup has been glaring. On Sunday, we were reminded there are other ways to score. The Sox had 12 runs on 15 hits – and only one of them left the yard.

Farrell has said all along that he believed this team would be good enough offensively, even if they weren’t hitting many home runs. Sunday’s aggressive approach served as a reminder of what this team could be.

In this OPS era of baseball, players swing for the fences on every pitch. The A’s are a perfect example; for all those home runs they are still nine games out of in the AL West.

The Sox, playing in a tougher division, begin the week four games back. They believe they can get on base often enough to string out the type of wipe-out innings that can produce victories. To do that they’ve got to trust in the process and not try to pull home runs in every at-bat.


It was telling that Hanley Ramirez went to center field and right field with his two hits Saturday. When he’s hitting to the opposite field he is going to produce more hits. A day later he went 3 for 4 and was back in form.

“We were aggressive, and we made it pay off,” said Farrell.

This isn’t Home Run Derby. You don’t win major league games by going deep more than the other team. You win by scoring more runs. We’re getting used to the fact that the Red Sox are going to need to manufacture runs through an aggressive approach at the plate and on the base paths. It worked for a day in Oakland. Now they need to keep that approach going.

Tom Caron is a studio host for the Red Sox broadcast on NESN. His column appears in the Portland Press Herald on Tuesdays.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: