Spring Training '19

MLB Notebook: Key to Red Sox offense is ‘doing damage’ without high strikeout totals

In streaking to a franchise record 108 wins last season, the Red Sox were blessed with a deep, powerful lineup, featuring a handful of players who experienced their best individual seasons: AL MVP Mookie Betts, Triple Crown threat J.D. Martinez, and Xander Bogaerts.

But beyond the stars, some in their peak years, the Red Sox also had a winning approach. From the start, the Red Sox stressed the need to "do damage'' by driving the ball, while at the same time, putting the ball in play on a consistent basis.

Often, power comes at a cost. In focusing on extra-base pop, it's not unusual to see strikeouts spike. It's supposed to be part of the tradeoff. Want to hit the ball a mile? Sometimes, you're going to miss and miss badly.

Across the game, strikeouts have been piling up at a record pace. In 2018, in fact, for the first time in history, there were more strikeouts than hits.

The Red Sox, though, were the exception to the rule. They managed to lead all of baseball in batting average, slugging percentage, OPS, total bases, extra-base hits and, most importantly, run scored. And yet, the Sox somehow managed to finish 26th among the 30 teams in strikeouts.