Ben Cherington

Ben Cherington on D&C: Despite offensive struggles, 'I'm still confident that the offense will start clicking'

Ryan Hannable
May 21, 2015 - 4:36 am

Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington checked in with Dennis & Callahan Thursday morning to discuss the state of the Red Sox through the first 40 games, focusing on the offense. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page. Through the first 18 games in May the Red Sox are averaging 2.39 runs per game, and are hitting just .146 as a team with runners in scoring position, including 1-for-8 in a 2-1 loss Wednesday night to the Rangers. Cherington feels things will change. "Our offense hasn't clicked yet," Cherington said. "I don't think it is necessarily predictive of what is going to happen. I think if we look at the reasons for it, there are just much different reasons than we saw last year. Our intent in building the team and one of the things we thought we'd be able to do this year is to put deep lineups out there night in, night out, give John [Farrell] as many options as possible. I still feel like we're going to be able to do that. There have been times where we haven't been able to do that because of injury or being short-handed or whatever. I think we're going to get closer and closer able to do that. "I think if you look at some of the underlying numbers -- bottom line is we're just hitting a lot of balls in play that have ended up in people's gloves and some of that evens out over the course of the year. We'll go through stretches where more balls will drop. Last night was a good example, we hit several balls really well that were either caught or tracked down. I'm still confident that the offense will start clicking. It hasn't yet and hasn't been what we expected, but we have a long way to go." Many have wondered about Pablo Sandoval, and maybe he might want to stop switch-hitting and just hit exclusively from the left side. So far this season, Sandoval is hitting .365 from the left side, but just .049 (2-for-41) from the right side. Last year he hit .199 from the right side, but for his career he's a .260 hitter from the right side. Cherington said it's up to Sandoval to correct things, and the team just needs him to get back to his career norms against lefties. "I'm not sure it is anybody's job," Cherington said. "I think Pablo knows what he needs to do to be successful. He's obviously been one of the better left-handed hitters in the game this year. I think he's had in his history, he's always been a little better, he's always been stronger from the left side. But, he's got several years where he's been at least fine or good from the right side and if he just gets back to his career norm from the right side to go along with what he is as a left-handed hitter because if you're a switch-hitter, if you had to choose your strong side you'd choose the left side and that's what he is. If he gets back to his career norm from the right side then he's going to be fine." In the short-term, Cherington just wants his third baseman back on the field, as he is still banged up from being hit by a pitch on the knee Tuesday night. "Our main concern is getting him back in the lineup," he said. "He got hit pretty good and he's sore. Probably won't be in there tonight, but he should be in there soon." Hanley Ramirez has performed well at the plate, hitting .266 with 10 homers, but has taken some time to adjust to playing left field, especially at Fenway Park. This doesn't appear to be an issue for Cherington, as he knows he was brought to Boston for his offense and is a work in progress in left. "When we signed him obviously the offense and the bat was the No. 1 thing and we believed that he can handle the transition to left field," Cherington said. "He's worked very hard at it. He has a great attitude about it and there have been a lot of games he's played well, particularly on the road. Fenway is a tough place with the wall, I know from being out there myself you can sort of feel like the wall is hanging over you. We just have to continue to support him and work with him. He's working hard. Over the course of his contract, we know that the reason he's here is to help our offense and win games. He came here because he wants to win. Right now he's our left fielder and we're confident that he will continue to improve out there."