Losing is as much of a habit as winning, and the Boston Red Sox continued to feed their losing habit by falling 6-4 at the hands of their American League East rival, the Toronto Blue Jays, in Wednesday's game. The Red Sox's latest loss was their 24th in 45 contests and their losing has become an unsurprising endeavor. Whatever goodwill their 2013 World Series title engendered, the truth is that this season the Red Sox are a struggling club who cannot make the most important and winning plays to dig themselves out of their current doldrums.
For the most part, the defeat suffered by the Red Sox was a very ordinary one for the team this year. The four runs they scored was right in line with their average scoring output, which is a problem since the 2014 Red Sox are not a very good offensive team when it matters most. Sure, their season batting line ranks them as an above-average hitting team, but where they suffer is when they try to turn their hits and walks into runs. The Red Sox can buy the freshest ingredients from the grocery store; just do not ask them to actually transform those ingredients into an edible meal.
On Wednesday, the Red Sox put together another respectable hitting line, using their 42 plate appearances to compile a very respectable .282 BA/.333 OBP/.462 SLG/.349 wOBA, which even exceeded what they have done overall this year. Unfortunately for the Red Sox, they could not really exceed their failures at run creation as they could not spin those hits and walks of straw into run gold. Instead, the Red Sox hitters spent another nine innings failing to live up to their run expectancy states. Despite their prowess at the plate, the Red Sox only pushed across four runs because of their -0.63 RE24. They did not fail by much at scoring runs, but they still should have done better.
One example of when the Red Sox were in line to score multiple runs but failed to do so was in the sixth inning when they loaded the bases with two outs, working their way to a run expectancy of 2.62. Grady Sizemore then struck out for the final out of the inning to ensure another empty-scoring inning for the team.
Only Shane Victorino's solo shot in the fourth inning and the three runs they scored in the eighth inning - albeit against one of the worst pitchers the Blue Jays had to offer - kept the Red Sox from another embarrassingly bad offensive performance. For a team that looks on the surface like the players should be able to knock in runs at will, the Red Sox are too often incompetent at driving in runs.
If the Red Sox had a lights-out pitching staff, then their offensive woes would not matter as much, but the Red Sox really only have a middling staff this season so when Clay Buchholz continues his disappointing season and gives up two home runs en route to allowing five runs in just 4.7 innings, the Red Sox really have no answers. It is not like they can expect their anemic-in-run-scoring-situations offense to pick up the slack when a starting pitcher of theirs gets hit hard.
Without the ability to perform in run-scoring situations at least comparably to how they perform in other situations at the plate, expect the Red Sox to lose many more games like Wednesday's defeat. Unless there is a turnaround soon, we will not be wondering if the Red Sox can rally and put together a postseason run, we will be left to surmise if this club can even keep their winning percentage above the .500 record. Given how they have played up to this point, which is right in line with their run differential, the answer might be that they are just not a winning team this season.