Game with Blue Jays postponed – Lowell Sun
The Red Sox had their game with the Toronto Blue Jays postponed on Tuesday night due to thunderstorms in Buffalo, the temporary home of the Jays.
It’ll be made up as part of a split doubleheader in Toronto on Aug. 7.
But the Red Sox lineup they were going to use on Tuesday was a reminder of the team’s problems at first base.
With more than half of the season in the books, Bobby Dalbec appears to have fallen out of favor.
Red Sox manager Alex Cora was set to start Danny Santana at first base again on Tuesday, his second consecutive start since getting recalled from a rehab assignment on Monday. Before that, Christian Arroyo got the start at first base on Sunday before he went down with a hamstring injury.
Asked if the Sox were going to platoon Santana and Dalbec going forward, Cora said, “I’m not going to go there. We’ll match it up.”
After starting 21 of the Sox’ 28 games (75%) in June, Dalbec has started just eight of the Red Sox’ 15 games (53%) in July.
“We do believe that certain matchups are good for Danny,” Cora said. “The quality of the at-bats (Monday) was solid. He feels good about himself physically. He’s in a good spot swing-wise. It feels like he was making progress before he got hurt, not too many swings and misses. He was hitting the ball hard.
“We’ll keep Michael (Chavis) involved and Bobby involved, but Danny, he’s a guy, when he gets on a roll, he can hit the ball in the air, he can hit it out, he goes the other way. So we’ll take it day by day.”
There’s no question Dalbec’s season has been disappointing.
He showed consistent power in a 23-game sample last fall, and again in Grapefruit League action this spring. But with almost four months of the regular season in the books, Dalbec is hitting just .216 with a .659 OPS. He has 10 home runs in 266 plate appearances and 12 walks to go with 99 strikeouts.
Of the 182 players with at least 250 plate appearances, he ranks 181st with a strikeout rate of 37%. His 0.12 walk-to-strikeout ranks 180th.
“The one thing I didn’t expect was the strikeout to walk ratio,” Cora said. “I do believe this guy, he understands the strike zone. He wasn’t going to chase pitches, he was going to walk more. The swing and misses we knew was part of the equation, but there was also plate discipline.
“There’s not too many walks lately, right? I don’t think he’s walked in the month of July, and he only had three in June. So that part surprised me, because I do believe this guy knows the strike zone and he can walk.”
Cooling the hype on Duran
Three games into Jarren Duran’s career and the Red Sox have been impressed, but Cora warned to cool the hype.
“I saw it back home in winter ball this year when he went down (to Puerto Rico) and played for Caguas,” Cora said. “I told these guys the story a few days ago, Opening Day, in a foreign country, with no fans in the middle of a pandemic, in a 9-0 game, his second at-bat he hits a groundball to short and he ran like a 4.0-flat to first. I had to turn off the TV and say, ‘you know what, this kid, he gets it.’ We had a few conversations. He came over to our neighborhood to have lunch. He gets it.
“To go to Yankee Stadium and put good at-bats, that’s part of who he is. He’s not going to deviate from who he is. He’s going to show up every day. One thing we have to be careful of is not to put this kid on a pedestal and all of a sudden call him the second coming of Johnny Damon or something like that. We have to take care of him. Obviously the hype will be there, but at the same time, we’ll keep him humble. I don’t think it’s going to be hard to keep him humble, because he’s a workaholic. He understands he’s here to help us win the game, not to establish himself at the big league level. And that’s a cool thing to have.”
Verdugo ready to break out
Alex Verdugo’s hamstring injury has held him back at times this year, but Cora thinks Verdugo is about to bust out of a slump.
He had three walks Monday and “he’s getting close,” the manager said. “He’s not far off from taking off. Because when you start dominating the strike zone the way he did (Monday), good things are going to happen.”
Hitting coach Tim Hyers said teams have stopped throwing him fastballs up in the zone and Verdugo may have over-adjusted.
“Lefties have thrown him a lot of two-seamers down and in and he has hit a lot of ground balls off of lefties,” Hyers said. “And then they have expanded away. I think it’s also just a young player. There are times when you’re going to struggle. He’s just going through some period where you have to make the adjustment.
“The other thing is not trying to press and try and get three hits in one at-bat. He has been prone to do that and we have talked about it. Just getting back to what he does best. He has to use the whole field, no matter if it’s lefties or righties. Probably hitting the ball on the ground too much to the pull side, which is unusual for him.”