This was a really, really bad day for the Red Sox

Rob Bradford
September 05, 2019 - 11:07 pm
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Nathan Eovaldi gave up just one run over five innings. And Mookie Betts kept looking like 2018 Mookie Betts, claiming another homer to go along with a double. 

Then there was everything else. 

Before the game, it was the news that David Price has had a setback with his left wrist injury and would not be able to make his scheduled start over the weekend. (Jhoulys Chacin will get the start Saturday.) The word on Michael Chavis also was discouraging, with the infielder needing to shut down baseball activities after experiencing soreness in his right oblique.

Then just before first pitch, it was learned that one of the teams the Red Sox were chasing, Oakland, had fought back from a five-run deficit to put up nine runs in their last two innings for another win.

And finally, about six hours after those bits of news were delivered, came the ultimate dagger: The Red Sox lost.

Not only did the Sox drop a 2-1 decision to the Twins -- now sitting 6 1/2 games out of the Wild Card chase with 22 games to play -- but they punctuated the defeat in the kind of painful fashion befitting this entire season. (For a complete recap, click here.)

With two outs and Rafael Devers at first base, J.D. Martinez did what would have seemed commonplace a year ago -- he tore into a slider from Twins closer Taylor Rogers, peppering the left-field wall. But this is 2019 so obviously, promise quickly turned into a problem.

Minnesota left fielder Eddie Rosario adeptly gathered in the ricochet, reared back and fired a one-hop strike to catcher Jason Castro. The execution was near-perfect and resulted in Devers coming up well short of managing anything but the game-ending out.

"Actually, I’m like laughing at it," said Red Sox manager Alex Cora, relaying his disbelief. "He hits the ball, you think it’s out of the ballpark. The ball bounces off the wall, you think he’s going to score, and he’s out. It’s one of those we had chances. We hit into, what? Fifteen ground balls or something like that. We didn’t hit the ball in the air. (Twins starter Martin) Perez had like 50 pitches in four innings, five innings. We didn't make adjustments offensively today but we had our chances. We did. And whatever, not too many but just happened that Rosario made a good throw there. When he hit it we thought it was out, when it bounced off the wall we score and all of a sudden he throws a strike to the plate."

"I had to wait and let the play develop," said Red Sox third base coach Carlos Febles. "Rosario was playing in the left-center gap. Ball hits off the wall. I know Raffy’s coming hot. Now he has to make a decision: Throw it to the plate from there or hit the cutoff man. He came up and made a perfect throw to the plate."

"I’m not surprised at all," Devers said of the decisive throw. "I know what kind of arm he has. I went off of contact. As soon as J.D. hit the ball, I just went full speed and just put my head down and followed the sign and kept going."

The Red Sox brought this one on themselves thanks in part to nine walks, three of which came from reliever Andrew Cashner who loaded the bases in the seventh inning after managing to throw just nine of his 25 pitches for strikes. That paved the way for the decisive hit, an opposite-field RBI single by Willians Astudillo off Matt Barnes.

"I just wasn’t throwing strikes," Cashner said. "I didn’t have a really good feel. Just felt a little stiff out there, but bounce back and have a chance again there tomorrow."

The problem is that there really aren't that many tomorrows left. In fact, this might have been the last one.