OAKLAND -- Red Sox third baseman Travis Shaw believes he'll break out of his prolonged slump soon, adding to a lineup that now sits one game behind the Blue Jays for first place in the American League East following a 16-2 win over the A's Friday night.But he may have
OAKLAND -- Red Sox third baseman Travis Shaw believes he'll break out of his prolonged slump soon, adding to a lineup that now sits one game behind the Blue Jays for first place in the American League East following a 16-2 win over the A's Friday night.
But he may have to do it despite lacking a consistent spot in that lineup.
Shaw took his first step toward a September resurgence on Friday night, going 3-for-5 with five RBIs, including a three-run sixth-inning homer. His performance came hours after Red Sox manager John Farrell made clear that rookie Yoán Moncada will receive more at-bats against right-handed pitchers while playing third base, platooning with right-handed-hitting Aaron Hill -- a role that has belonged to Shaw since beat out Pablo Sandoval during Spring Training.
"Good to see him respond on a night where maybe there's some speculation around Yoan's arrival," Farrell said. "He responded in a great way."
• Moncada gives Sox a glimpse of the future
Farrell said prior to the game Shaw is "not a forgotten guy."
"It is what it is," Shaw said. "You just try to make the most of the opportunities from here on out. Just try to stay as ready as I can. I feel like I'm in a pretty good spot here the last week or so."
Both Shaw and Farrell said he's working to use the middle of the field more and trying to drive the ball to the opposite field. He did so in the fifth inning, shooting an RBI double into the left-field corner to drive in Hanley Ramirez. Shaw then turned on a J.B. Wendelken offering in the ensuing inning, rocketing a homer to the Coliseum bleachers in right field.
The Red Sox's lack of third-base production has been an ongoing issue this season and contributed, at least partially, to Moncada's arrival. Prior to Friday's win, Boston third basemen owned a .704 OPS, the third-lowest mark in the Majors. Neither Shaw nor Hill have hit well, with Shaw batting just .208 with a .640 OPS since June 1 prior to Friday's game.
Shaw slashed .292/.358/.508 in his first 52 games.
"I think it's only going to be a matter of time before April and May comes back," he said.
Shaw said he hasn't lost confidence but said "you kind of doubt yourself a little bit here and there." But his recent approach is working, he said, and he also believes he has history on his side, having competed for a role in Spring Training and having gone through hot and cold streaks in the past.
Now, he must find a way to sustain success again, even if the consistent at-bats aren't always there.
"If you get hits, it's going to be hard to keep you out of the lineup down the stretch," he said. "We are in a pennant race, so hopefully I can get hot, and we'll see what happens."
Mark Chiarelli is a reporter for MLB.com based in the Bay Area.