The Red Sox' 'weird season' only keeps getting weirder


This was the first line of Ron Roenicke's pregame meeting with the media Monday: "We’re in this weird season."


Predicting things isn't a good idea these days.

For example, if you thought the Red Sox were going roll to a win Monday night after they jumped out to a 4-1 lead after three innings that would have been a bad idea. They lost to the Rays, 8-7, at Fenway Park. (For a complete box score, click here.)

And within those 4 hours, 24 minutes of baseball were there were plenty of other realities which should have made you wake up Tuesday morning with a "How in the world did I get here?" type of vibe.

For instance ...

- J.D. Martinez hit a home run. This would seem to be an expected outcome in any other season. But by the time the designated hitter launched his 425-foot bomb over everything in left field he had begun the season with 63 plate appearance without a homer. Consider this: The longest previous stretch had endured without a home run to start a campaign was 2014 when it took him 42 plate appearances.

"His batting practice today was great," said Red Sox manager Ron Roenicke. “I sat out there and watched it, and that’s the best I’ve seen him swing in a while. (Bench coach) Jerry Narron, who really knows him well from their days together in Arizona, said the same thing. He came in and said, ‘That’s the J.D. swing that I know,’ and it goes into the game and it shows up, so it was really good to see."


— Red Sox (@RedSox) August 11, 2020

- Sixteen games into the season Rule 5 pick Jonathan Arauz has more hits than Andrew Benintendi. This nugget was made possible by Arauz's three-hit night Monday. It also came to fruition because Benintendi is still sitting with the worst batting average in the majors, having started the season going 2-for-36. (Benintendi did walk after pinch-hitting for Jose Peraza.)

"Arauz was pretty cool," Roenicke noted. "Any time you see a guy get his first major league hit. I know he was really down after that last game in Tampa Bay, so for him to do that. He killed that ball to centerfield too and they made a nice play on it, so with him, I tell you, he continues to not act like he’s out of A ball. He’s calm. He’s good from both sides of the plate. Does a great job. Made a nice play defensively, so he’s doing a nice job."

- The Red Sox had to hinge their hopes on Jeffrey Springs - he of the 15.43 ERA - to keep it close. Springs is one of many pitchers who Chaim Bloom is taking a flyer on after less-than-spectacular recent results in other organizations. In Springs' case, he was traded to the Red Sox in exchange for first baseman Sam Travis. Some who started the season with the big league club such as Matt Hall (who also has a 15.43 ERA) or Ryan Weber have already been sent down. Others have shown some semblance of possessing potential, with Phillips Valdez and Austin Brice offering some hope. But the unknown in some key spots has offered less-than-ideal results. Example: Monday night.

"It was just because we were trying to stay away from two guys in our bullpen that we’ve been using a lot," Roenicke explained. "We needed him to go. It was a good matchup for him with all the lefthanders in the lineup, but it was, we just can’t keep pitching the same guys all the time, every time we have a close game. That seems to be what we’re playing. It’s the case of staying away from some people, hoping that he can get through some innings for us, and confident enough that we think he can."

Confirmed, the #1 center fielder

— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) August 11, 2020

- The injury mysteries isn't a comfortable dynamic. Roenicke finally uttered the word "knee" when mentioning why Mitch Moreland was unavailable to pinch-hit for Michael Chavis with the tying run on base in the ninth inning. (Chavis struck out.) Up until that point, the manager was offering the narrative of tired legs when asked each and every time why the first baseman wasn't playing. And before the game, it was learned Rafael Devers had a bad ankle which was classified by the manager as Devers’ situation, "a little iffy today. That’s why he’s not in the lineup. The trainers are working on him. He may be available tonight, later. That’s why he’s not in there." And then following the game -- after the media witnessed Devers sitting in his suite with a boot on -- Roenicke explained, "Probably doubtful that he'll start the game tomorrow, but hopefully maybe we can get him and use him for a pinch hitter in a big situation." All of this comes in the wake of the manager initially classifying Eduardo Rodriguez's myocarditis as a "minor complication" when first revealing the pitcher was shut down. They would point to competitive advantages and disadvantages when classifying these ailments. Let's just say it seems like it can be nuanced a bit more effectively.

- The Red Sox are still searching for an everyday second baseman. The excitement surrounding Jose Peraza to begin the season has turned in a hurry. Not only has his batting average dipped to .245 while carrying an OPS of .588, but he has been really uncomfortable in the field. Peraza has now made five errors, including the mishandling of a routine ground ball to lead off the Rays' two-run fourth inning. Perhaps Tzu-Wei Lin or Arauz end up getting more of an opportunity, or maybe Chavis (who still hasn't played second base this season) slides over when Moreland can play first. But there is no doubt that part of the blueprint coming into the season was having Peraza man the position on a regular basis. That plan isn't exactly trending well. Oh, and since the official start of the Dustin Pedroia-free era at second base, the Red Sox carrying the majors third-worst OPS (.651) while turning the third-fewest double plays.

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