Red Sox

McAdam: Two thoughts on the final off-day of the Red Sox season

(Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Fifty-four games down. Six games to go. One home series remaining.

Meanwhile, two nagging thoughts:

1 - The J.D. Martinez mystery continues 

Which scenario would have seemed more improbable at the start of this season? A team choosing to walk a hitter in extra-innings in order to pitch to J.D. Martinez? Or, the notion that Martinez stands a chance of finishing the season with a sub-.200 batting average?

The first has already happened. The Yankees, after falling behind Xander Bogaerts 2-and-0 in the 11th inning on Friday, elected to intentionally walk Bogaerts with first base open, filling the bases for Martinez. Worse, the strategy worked when Martinez fanned -- for the fourth time in the game.

The second may yet take place. In the final week of the season, Martinez is hitting .205, dipped to .199 after Friday's loss and hasn't been over .205 since Sept. 10.

It's well past time to ascribe Martinez's season-long struggles to his inability to reference his at-bats via in-game video, though undoubtedly, that's been a contributing factor. Still, everyone is playing under the same rules and conditions. If proven run producers like Mike Trout (1.005), Jose Abreu (1.032) and Freddie Freeman (1.097) can learn to do without, why can't Martinez?

Mostly, it would seem, Martinez's dramatic drop-off stems from a combination of poor mechanics, which in turn have led to diminished confidence.

"He's fallen into some bad habits,'' acknowledged hitting coach Tim Hyers. "He just jumps off his back side and creates some length in his swing and he's just late to fastballs. He's tried a few things, a lot of them have failed. He's trying to be shorter. Finishing off this last week, (a goal) is to just trying to kill some of these bad habits and not try to do too much.

"He'll feel good in his work and he gets into the box and he just jumps off his backside and creates length. It's just a habit that has gone on and on. I know it seems like a player of his caliber to make those changes should be a lot easier. But to be honest, that's what we've been grinding on, is for him to shorten up and to not have that length in the back with his hands to catch up to a fastball. We've all seen that they've throw him a lot more fastballs and he hasn't been as productive to that and that's something he's struggled with.''