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Wednesday, June 18, 2014
Ortiz .246 average lowest since '09

By Gordon Edes

BOSTON -- A few random observations headed into a three-city, 10-game trip that could vault the Red Sox back into contention in the AL East or turn this into a true bridge year to better days ahead:

* David Ortiz has had only one game in 15 games this month in which he has had more than one hit. He’s batting .182 (10 for 55) in June entering play Wednesday, and his overall average of .246 is his lowest this deep into a season since he finished the 2009 season with a .238 average, lowest of his career. Ortiz batted .218 in his first 106 games that season, then .294 the rest of the way.

* Rookie Jackie Bradley Jr. actually has a higher batting average this month than fellow rookie Xander Bogaerts. JBJ is batting .195 (8 for 41), Bogaerts .190 (11 for 58). There’s an even bigger gap in on-base percentage: Bradley is at .313, Bogaerts .238.

* A.J. Pierzynski remains the only Sox player batting .300 or better (.315) with runners in scoring position. Dustin Pedroia is at .222, Mike Napoli .208, and Bogaerts is batting just .145 ( 9 for 62).

* For all the deserved fanfare greeting Brock Holt’s debut in center field, the Sox still need Bradley to start hitting. Holt can’t be expected to provide anywhere near the kind of defense Bradley gives the team at a position that simply is too demanding for Holt not to be exposed eventually.

* Sox stat guru Jon Shestakofsky notes that Holt becomes just the second Sox player ever to make starts at first, third, left, center and right in a season. Jack Rothrock in 1928 is the other. Rothrock played all nine positions that season, even pitching a scoreless inning. But Rothrick did not start at all those positions.

* I’ll admit I was ready to write off Edward Mujica a couple of weeks ago, but he was a different pitcher in Tuesday night’s save, hitting 94 on the gun and striking out two of the three batters he faced. Manager John Farrell said that was probably the best velocity he has shown all season, and acknowledged that Mujica responds to the adrenaline of the ninth inning. But he still has to demonstrate he can be effective in the setup role.

* David Cameron of FanGraphs listed his early selections for the AL All-Star team, and he has only two Red Sox players on his roster: reliever Koji Uehara and third baseman Xander Bogaerts as a reserve. No David Ortiz, no Dustin Pedroia, no Jon Lester or John Lackey. His second basemen are Robinson Cano of the Mariners and Brian Dozier of the Twins; his DHs are Edwin Encarnacion of the Jays and Victor Martinez of the Tigers.

* The Sox player with the highest WAR (Wins Above Replacement) is Pedroia, and he is tied for 54th with Chase Utley at 2.1. Last season, the Sox had three players in the top 30 in the majors in WAR: Pedroia, 16th at 6.47; Shane Victorino, 23d at 6.14; and Jacoby Ellsbury, 29th at 5.75. Ortiz last season ranked 26th in offensive WAR at 4.44; Ortiz so far this season is 167th, at 0.67 (DH performance is weighted for the position).