Jerry Remy accurately sums up Red Sox as they reach new nadir: 'This is downright embarrassing'

Alex Reimer
April 17, 2019 - 9:30 am

Oftentimes, it is the criticism from a family member that hits the hardest. The Red Sox’ brutal start to their title defense has opened them up to condemnation from all sides, but nobody’s words were more pungent than longtime color man Jerry Remy, who bluntly assessed the team’s dismal play Tuesday with four simple words: “This is downright embarrassing.”

That was Remy’s reaction when somebody named Mike Tauchman launched a towering home run to right field off Erasmo Ramirez, giving the Yankees a 7-0 lead in the seventh. New York wound up winning the game 8-0, despite losing 12 players –– including seven regulars and their closer –– to the injured list.

In an April full of low points for the Red Sox, Tuesday may have been the lowest. Coming off a disappointing 3-3 home stand against the lowly Blue Jays and Orioles, in which Chris Davis amassed more hits than he had collected in his previous 23 games dating back to last season, the Red Sox were seemingly poised to turn things around against the depleted Yanks. Chris Sale was on the hill and his personal binkie was back catching him behind the plate. Prior to game time, the Red Sox cut Blake Swihart loose for Sandy Leon, saying the former top prospect  had to go somewhere he could play. If only that could’ve happened with the Red Sox, who shuffled Swihart to left field in 2016 and subsequently destroyed his career with neglect and indifference. 

Sale, meanwhile, was lit up for four runs and seven hits over five innings of work. While he was consistently reaching the upper-90s, the Yankees’ murderers row of DJ LeMahieu, Luke Voit, Clint Frazier and Tauchman tagged him with hard-hit shots. Sox starters now own an ERA of 7.18 through 18 games. Sale is sitting at 8.50. 

As WEEI’s Rob Bradford writes, the Red Sox’ decision to jettison Swihart, one of their few cost-controlled assets, is a disconcerting sign of panic. The 27-year-old switch-hitter possesses more upside than any catcher in the organization, and especially Leon, who was hitting a robust .120 in Pawtucket. As Sale’s outing showed, the pitchers’ problems go well beyond whoever is crouching behind the plate and laying down signs.

Alex Cora expressed some optimism about Sale after the game, saying he thinks his $145 million ace is ready to turn the corner. Sale didn’t seem to share that same confidence, instead telling reporters “f— hopes” he’ll perform better next time out.

Teams cannot win divisions in April, but they can certainly lose them, and the Red Sox are well on their way to doing that. On Opening Day, the World Series champs possessed a 52-percent chance of capturing the AL East and 90-percent chance of earning a playoff berth. Today, their playoff odds are down to 52-percent, with their division hopes hanging on by 13-percent.

The Red Sox’ only saving grace so far has been the Yankees’ own mediocrity, but they’re missing the majority of their team. Outside of Leon, the Red Sox have no saviors on the horizon, unless they want to finally pony up the cash for Craig Kimbrel. But closers are irrelevant when your starting pitchers can’t make it past five innings and your hitters can produce runs. The Red Sox only recorded three hits Tuesday against James Paxton and a guy named Joe Harvey, with reigning MVP Mookie Betts putting up another 0-for-3 performance out of the leadoff spot. He’s hitting .212 on the season.

Over the weekend, Betts called his play “unacceptable.” From the dugout to the broadcast booth, the Red Sox know this is a humiliating to start to the season for the highest-priced team in the game. And yet they keep reaching new nadirs.