Season-long offensive struggles personified in 9th-inning fall by Brock Holt

June 16, 2014 - 6:03 am

The story had written itself to that point. In the bottom of the ninth inning, with the Red Sox and Indians tied, 2-2, with the bases loaded and two outs, it only made sense that Brock Holt would be at the plate. Holt, who was 2-for-4 with a run scored at that point, has been Superman in the flesh for the Red Sox since his call-up from Pawtucket on May 17. With the way that the Brock Holt show has played out in recent weeks, it would make sense for the Holt to be the on to finish the game off with a walkoff single. So Holt stepped up to the plate with the winning run just 90 feet away. Holt had the opportunity to, once again, be the hero for the Red Sox. All it would haven taken was a single. Just a single. Instead, Holt tapped the ball over the pitcher's mound to Jason Kipnis, who threw out Holt by less than a step. After reaching first, Holt fell over the base, landing on his stomach and ending up with a mouth full of dirt. Holt put his head on the ground in disappointment and frustration. No, there will not be a film adaptation of that moment, starring Matt Damon as Holt. Instead the ground out will end up as just another example of the Red Sox offense's futility with runners in scoring position. Holt came less than a step away from winning the game for the Red Sox. Instead of walking off the field as the hero, Holt fell flat on his face. All season, the Red Sox offense has seemingly been falling flat on its face with runners in scoring position. Holt's trip over first base in the 3-2, 11-inning loss to the Indians seemingly personified the season-long theme of the team's offensive struggles. "We've been getting guys on, but we're not getting them in. We'll get there eventually," Holt said. "That's kind of been the theme. Somebody is going to come up and we're going to get big hit after big hit, so we'll keep grinding and come ready to play tomorrow." Red Sox manager John Farrell acknowledged that the big hit has been elusive for the Red Sox so far this season. "I can't say that we change our approach [with runners in scoring position]," Farrell said. "One through nine, it's not like we're going about it differently, but it's been elusive." Throughout the entirety of the 2014 season, the Red Sox have struggled to get hits with runners in scoring position and two outs. Going into Sunday's game, in such situations the Red Sox were hitting .221/.357/.325 with four homers, 81 RBIs, 14 doubles and one triple in 328 plate appearances. "[We] may be pressing a little just because someone wants to get [a hit]," Holt said. "We want to get that big hit and win a game because of it. Like I said, maybe not go up there and try to do too much." Catcher A.J. Pierzynski says that there is nothing the team can do other than working to get runners on base and trying to get the ball on the bat. "Once you hit the ball, the ball goes where it goes, and I think guys are putting good at-bats on pitchers," Pierzynski said. "We got [Corey] Kluber out in the sixth and had nothing but good at-bats off of him to get there. Guys made good plays. There was nothing you can do but keep trying, and this team is not going to stop doing that." Holt said that the offense is too good to not turn things around. "We're up there trying to get the job done and do what we're capable of doing," Holt said. "We're just not getting it done right now. Our offense is top-to-bottom pretty dang good, so it's a matter of time before we get out of it."