On Tuesday night, the Red Sox will begin a huge three game series with the first place Tampa Bay Rays. The Red Sox come into Tuesday night’s game four games out of first place. Boston has been scuffling over the last week and a half. The Red Sox are 2-8 in their last 10 games. They are losers of 10 of their last 13 in total and at some point chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom needs to make some changes. One of those changes? Bobby Dalbec.
The changes that could have been made at the trade deadline weren’t addressed. Bloom did add Kyle Schwarber in a trade with the Nationals. Schwarber is still on the injured list with a hamstring injury and should be close to making his team debut.
Bobby Dalbec has Failed to Meet Expectations
The one area the Red Sox needed to address was at first base. Incumbent first baseman Bobby Dalbec has not met expectations. Coming into Tuesday night, Dalbec is hitting .218 with 11 home runs and 41 RBIs. In addition to his putrid batting average, Dalbec has a below average slash line from the plate, .264/.391/.655.
Dalbec has played 92 games this season with the Red Sox and has failed to elevate himself at the plate. Opposing pitchers have figured out how to pitch to Dalbec. The 26-year-old had struck out 119 times in 294 at-bats. Contributing to those strikeouts is his inability to hit the fastball and breaking ball. Dalbec is hitting .226 against the fastball striking out 55 times in 155 at-bats. He is hitting .184 against the breaking ball with 50 strike outs in 98 at-bats.
The Red Sox have begun to figure out other internal options to play first base. Franchy Cordero has played some first base in both Worcester and in Boston. Manager Alex Cora has utilized Marwin Gonzalez at first, but he has been abysmal from the dish as well.
Anthony Rizzo Should be Playing Under the Fenway Lights
The Yankees addressed their need at first base at the trade deadline and acquired veteran Anthony Rizzo. It was rumored that the Red Sox were the favorites to land the former World Series champ. Instead, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman shelled out more in prospect capital and landed Rizzo.
KYLE SCHWARBER ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!? pic.twitter.com/gMVENQam9q
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Bloom losing out on Rizzo resulted in the Sox acquiring Schwarber. The All-Star fills a much needed void in the lineup. The Red Sox needed a left-handed power hitting bat, but Schwarber projects better in the outfield versus the infield.
Schwarber the Next Mike Napoli?
Despite the fan backlash for not landing Rizzo, the fanbase should be more open minded to the idea of Schwarber at first base. Back in 2013 when the Red Sox signed Mike Napoli, he became the club’s everyday first baseman. Napoli had some experience at first prior to coming to Boston. The point is, both Napoli and Schwarber are former catchers who have converted to other positions as they progressed in their careers. Schwarber should be able to learn the position over time and still give the Red Sox adequate enough defense for the remainder of the season.
Once Schwarber is able to be activated by the Red Sox, Bobby Dalbec should be optioned to Worcester. This will allow him to work on his swing and get a better handle of big league pitching.
Schwarber will be an important addition to the the club. Fans will be laser focused on his play at first base. If Schwarber struggles at first, the Sox will also be getting Christian Arroyo off the injured list. Another internal option is Danny Santana but he has also been grotesque from the plate.
Boston needs to take two-of-three from the Rays beginning on Tuesday. The ultimate scenario would be sweeping the Rays and then be one game out of first place. Cora needs to have his players ready for battle, the Fenway Faithfull needs to be loud over the three games. It’s time to bring a playoff atmosphere to Boston for this series against Tampa.
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Feature image courtesy of NESN