Patience, patience: Sox not taking walks

It's not easy to succeed if you don't take what's given to you.

In the case of the 2012 Boston Red Sox, a failure to draw walks has helped translate into mediocrity.

The Red Sox entered Monday averaging 2.84 walks per game. In the American League, only the lowly Kansas City Royals have walked less often.

In fact, you'd have to go back to the pre-World War II era to find the last time Boston walked so infrequently. The Red Sox have walked once every 13.52 plate appearances, the most plate appearances per walk (PA per BB) since 14.48 in 1931.

That 1931 squad finished 62-90 with only one above-average bat in the lineup (Earl Webb). The next 80 years -- from Ted Williams to "Moneyball" -- all saw a higher walk rate than the Red Sox have displayed in 2012.

Even with productive bats in the lineup, the low walk totals mean that Boston is on track for its lowest on-base percentage since 1992. To make matters worse, no Red Sox team has ever struck out more.

Just three seasons ago, walks were integral to Boston's offense. The Red Sox enjoyed the highest walk rate in the American League in 2009 with both Jason Bay and J.D. Drew finishing in the top 10 in total walks. Kevin Youkilis had the second highest on-base percentage in the league.

That's all changed. The same franchise that walked once every 9.6 plate appearances in 2009 needs 13.5 plate appearances to draw a walk in 2012. The Red Sox are on pace for 197 fewer walks in 2012 than they had in 2009.

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