BOSTON SPORTS WAVE

J.D. Martinez Credits Short Buildup For Red Sox Slow Start Offensively; ‘We’re Going to Score,’ Alex Cora Says

Red Sox

The Boston Red Sox have hit just .179 as a team through five games so far, leading to a dwindling 1-4 start, but the Sox aren’t worried.

J.D. Martinez was responsible for the team’s only run production in Monday’s 3-1 loss to the Tigers as he blasted a solo shot in the fifth inning. Boston had just four hits as a team and only one hit — which was Martinez’s homer — against Detroit starter Matt Manning who went six dazzling innings. The Sox have just 12 runs through five games.

“I don’t want to make excuses or anything but it’s one of those things where we’re still three weeks behind a normal buildup,” Martinez said after Monday’s loss. “So I think it’s part of it. Start off good, or you start off bad. It could go either way.”

Manning struck out just two in his one-hit, six-inning performance, but rode a no-hitter into the fifth inning.

“Yeah. He had some good stuff,” Martinez said. “He did a really good job. He had really good ride on his fastball. Just giving us trouble.”

Cora credits Manning’s difficult fastball, which Manning threw 41 times — 60% of his 68 pitches that he tossed.

“I think his fastball played better than expected,” Cora said. “It was getting on you. He has plus extension, then velocity started picking up. When you see us hitting fly balls, then fouling up fastballs up in the zone, the fastball is getting on you.”

According to Savant, Christian Vazquez was the only Red Sox to hit a ball harder than 100 MPH Monday other than Martinez and Devers.

“We didn’t hit too many balls hard,” Cora said. “We didn’t do too much offensively.”

Martinez gives notion to the short buildup, in which the MLB started spring training three weeks late due to the lockout not ending at such a convenient time. The short buildup was more the worry for pitchers heading into camp, but it seems to be affecting the offense a lot more than the pitching staff.

The bullpen has let up just three runs through 16 2/3 innings (1.67), and two of those runs came Monday on Javier Baez’s game-winning two-run homer off Ryan Brasier.

“(I’m) surprised but if this is what we’re talking about right now, we should be fine,” manager Alex Cora said. “We pitched well, they scored three. I believe we’re going to score runs. It’s just a matter of, to be honest with you, just slowing the game down now and don’t try to do too much. Just put good at-bats.”

Baez’s game-winner Monday, a 396-foot shot down the left-field line off Ryan Brasier that just barely made it fair, was a chin-high fastball well above the zone that Baez went up and got.

“Even though it was above the strike zone, it feels like Javy was just trying to beat him to a spot, and he did,” Cora said.

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