Welcome to the Red Sox' long, slow, painful 2019 in a nutshell

Rob Bradford
September 18, 2019 - 7:07 am

The night started out with as much of a spring in its step as could be possible considering the circumstances.

With less than two weeks left in both their seasons, the Red Sox and Giants showed up at Fenway Park Tuesday night and participated what was an entertaining baseball game for a while. There was the novelty of the National League fans swarming Jersey St. And the grandson of a Red Sox legend, Mike Yastrzemski, not only offered a cool pregame meet-and-greet with his grandfather Captain Carl but punctuated the moment with the first Yastrzemski home run at Fenway since July 31, 1983.

And there was also a Red Sox' comeback after starter Nathan Eovaldi had dug his team a 5-1 hole.

But when it was all said and done -- 5 hours and 54 minutes after it started -- the Red Sox were left with just another reminder of the not-quite-good-enough 2019 season, in this case it was a 7-6, 15-inning loss to the Giants. (For a complete recap, click here.)

"If you can (sum up) our season in six hours, it was right there, honestly," said Red Sox manager Alex Cora after his team tied a big league record with its 16th game of four hours or more. "Close games, we didn’t hit with men in scoring position, we didn’t pitch well in the beginning but then we pitched well. We played good defense but then we didn’t. Honestly, if you want to put everything in six hours, it’s right there. I was watching, I was like, long game, extra-inning games, using the bullpen knowing we have a bullpen day maybe tomorrow, it’s been like that the whole season. That’s how I felt."

We know this: Next year we won't see this. The rules won't allow it. Major League Baseball is allowing rosters to expand to just 28 players during September next year, eliminating the chance for teams to use a record-tying 24 pitchers, as was the case this time around. 

But the interminable amount of pitching changes were just part of the problem when it came to those Red Sox followers hoping to turn those Giants' fans smiles upside down. As exhausting as it is to utter, this wouldn't have happened in 2019.

Sure, the Red Sox might have played a long game. But when it was all said and done the story of using 10 relievers along with the gut and guile it took to keep things going with a run thanks to a 13th-inning, bases-loaded walk by Juan Centeno would have paved the way to a nice little story for Cora's club.

Instead, the Sox woke up Wednesday still nine games out of the Wild Card race sitting with 40 home losses, just nine shy of the 69-win seasons of 2012 and 2014.

Welcome to 2019.