Notes: Inside Youkilis' slump

April, 18, 2012
4/18/12
12:45
PM ET
A few Red Sox notes from ESPN Stats & Information heading into tonight’s game against the Rangers:

* The Red Sox bullpen is off to a shaky start with baseball’s second-worst ERA at 6.23 ERA. The Rangers, however, enter tonight’s game with an AL-best 2.20 bullpen ERA.

* Kevin Youkilis, who went 0 for 4 with four strikeouts last night, has been mired in a slump since August of last season. He’s batting .186 with a .586 OPS since that time. He started last season with a .874 OPS through July. His decreased production can be attributed to a higher strikeout rate, lower walk rate and a much lower average on balls hit in play.

Through the team's first nine games last season, Youkilis was batting just .148 (4-for-27), and finished the month of April batting just .218. But over a 60-game span that took him to mid-July, Youkilis got hot at the plate, raising his overall average to a season-high .288. But injuries then took their toll, and Youkilis lost 30 points on his average by the end of the season.

The Red Sox offense started off the season in a slump, batting .235 over the first 6 games while scoring under 4 runs per contest. They’ve started to come back to form in the last 5 games, batting .312 as a team.

Josh Hamilton's homer to right field last night hit traveled 469 feet, the longest homer by a lefty at Fenway since 2006.

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