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Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Red Sox offense missing in NL parks


Since scoring 14 runs on June 20 against the San Diego Padres, the Boston Red Sox have scored a total of 14 runs in their last six games. (Tuesday was the seventh time this season that Boston's been shut out.)

Perhaps that's one reason the Red Sox will start David Ortiz at first base on Wednesday against the Philadelphia Phillies (7 ET on ESPN.)

The downturn in offense has coincided with a trip National League ballparks and the loss the designated hitter. With Ortiz out, the Red Sox have had to shorten their lineup. Ortiz primarily was batting fifth in the lineup, but in their last four games -- all in National League ballparks -- the Red Sox have been batting J.D. Drew and Darnell McDonald in the five-spot. The two have combined to go 3-for-16 (.188) in those games, including 0-for-11 with men on base. This season, Ortiz is batting .312 with eight home runs with runners on base.

The Red Sox are not only losing out in the fifth spot in the order, but are also not getting any offense from their pitchers. Boston is one of five American League teams that has yet to get a hit from a pitcher. In National League parks, the Sox' No. 9 hitters are 1-for-14 (OF Josh Reddick had a pinch-hit single). Their No. 9 hitters were batting .258 entering their National League road trip.

Matchups to Watch:
• Placido Polanco is 4-for-23 against John Lackey, but with only one strikeout and one home run. That means his Batting Average On Balls in Play against Lackey is .143 (3-for-21). Polanco's career BABIP is .312.

• Ryan Howard is 0-for-4 in his career against Jonathan Papelbon with three strikeouts, and each came on a 3-2 count. His other out was a flyout, also with a two-strike count (0-2)

• Leadoff hitters in an inning is 9-for-30 (.300 BA) vs Bard this season. Everyone else is 13-for-98 (.133 BA)

• Should Terry Francona consider giving Jacoby Ellsbury a day off? Ellsbury is 2-for-20 in his last 5 games, but on BABIP, he's struck out only once. He's 1-for-his-last 18 when putting the ball into the field of play.