Walking men? Not the Red Sox

August, 22, 2012
8/22/12
7:13
PM ET
BOSTON -- The Red Sox entered play Wednesday night ranked 12th in the American League in walks, with 341. David Ortiz is the only Sox player with at least 40 walks, with 56, and he's missed almost five weeks.

At their current rate, the Sox would finish with 449 walks, which would be their lowest total ever in a full 162-game season and their fewest ever in any season since 1931, when they walked 405 times in 152 games.

The Sox had finished first or second in walks in all but one season since 2002, when they finished sixth with 545. They peaked in 2007, their second World Series year in the decade, with 689, or 240 more than the 440 they're currently on pace for.

The Sox have had 35 games already this season -- 28 percent of the games in which they've played -- in which they've drawn one walk (24 times) or none (11). That number already surpasses the 25 games they had in 2011. In 20 of those games this year, the Sox have failed to score more than three runs; their record in those games is 3-17.

The team is 1-15 since June 22 in games in which the Sox either had one or no walks.

Jacoby Ellsbury has hit just one home run in 186 plate appearances this season, his only home run coming off Jays rookie Henderson Alvarez on July 22.

Entering play Wednesday night, Ellsbury had gone his past 26 games without a home run. But before anyone decides his 32 home runs in 2011 were a fluke, it's worth noting that Ellsbury went 34 games without a home run last season, from April 19 to May 25, a span of 157 plate appearances. He then hit nine in his next 197 plate appearances, and was on his way to becoming the first 30-30 man in Sox history.

Ellsbury was at 213 plate appearances into the 2011 season when he went on his tear. He's 25 plate appearances, or roughly six games, from reaching that total in 2012.

• Very entertaining post here by Ben Lindbergh on Baseball Prospectus entitled "When Aaron Cook Struck out Mike Trout," which happened to lead off Tuesday night's game. Check out the story (with video) here

• Bobby Valentine made an interesting analogy to Paul White of USA Today when asked what he would do to "fix" the Sox.

"Fix it? As in fix it how you can, or with a magic wand?" he began, then brought up General Motors.

"Biggest automaker in the world and people told them they should make smaller, more fuel-efficient cars," he said. "They said they were General Motors and they kept making SUVs. Biggest automaker in the world and they end up getting a government bailout."

GM ultimately made a successful turnaround.

"The problem is, they have to change over the plant and the plant is scheduled to make 17 SUVs today," Valentine said. "That's a dysfunctional situation. That's when you need the magic wand."

Valentine, White wrote, "won't directly link his analogy to his roster or clubhouse - he just smiles and shrugs -- but he says he sees himself as the guy in charge of the assembly line.'' You can read the full story here.

Gordon Edes

Red Sox reporter, ESPNBoston.com

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