The exhausting process of holding out postseason hope for these Red Sox continues

Rob Bradford
August 03, 2019 - 9:14 am

After Game No. 111 we learned this: It was a good baseball game.

"We didn’t play well against Tampa. We didn’t play well against the Yankees on Sunday," said Red Sox manager Alex Cora. "Today was a good baseball game."

OK.

The Red Sox have had good ones, bad ones, and everything in between. The consistent themes along the way are that they need to get better and more consistent, but at least the talent is sitting on the surface. Where it all has led them is four games out of getting a chance to play a Wild Card play-in game and no hope of catching the runaway division-leading Yankees.

Friday night's 4-2 loss at Yankee Stadium might very well have been a good baseball game, as Cora pointed out in the visitors' manager's office following the game, but it left the narrative surrounding this team on the same spin cycle. While all is not lost quite yet, the wear and tear of trying to explain this thing sure make it feel that way. (For a complete recap, click here.)

This has become exhausting.

Maybe the rest of the weekend will be our melatonin, finally allowing for everyone to rest in peace thanks to a few more Yankees wins. That's when we can stop wondering what might change and turn our attention to definitively what didn't. That is what happened when New York came into Fenway Park 1 1/2 games up in the American League East back in the middle of August 2006, won five straight games and officially defined that Red Sox team's season.

But we haven't quite got there yet.

Chris Sale and David Price have the back of their baseball cards to lean on. The Red Sox still possess arguably the best top-to-bottom lineup in baseball. There are viable pieces in the bullpen, with Nathan Eovaldi offering the presence of a closer in the eighth inning.

But this is what got the Red Sox into trouble the first time around -- projections. We think this can happen because it previously has in some form or fashion. 

That's all well and good but this team has absolutely no room for what might be or maybes. Sale needs to be the Sale the Red Sox signed up for. This next-level offense has to manage more than three hits as they did in the latest biggest game of the year.

If this does keep turning the other way there will be another conversation, one of a chicken-and-egg variety: Was Dave Dombrowski right not to add pieces to this puzzle because there wasn't enough hope, or is there a lack of hope because the president of baseball operations didn't invest in the World Series champs at the trade deadline while his competitors were filling up the transaction wire?

For now, we are still stuck on deciphering what is the reality with this team being carted out in front of us. There will be plenty of time to dissect exactly how and why they landed where they landed. That's a conversation the Red Sox are desperately trying to fend off. 

Let's reconvene on Monday. Three games in the Bronx, a deep breath and another glance at the standings should allow for some clarity one way or another. We are, after all, running out of ways to tie ourselves into knots trying to figure this whole thing out.

The lone Red Sox' offensive highlight Friday night came off the bat of J.D. Martinez, who gave the visitors a two-run lead with a first-inning home run, his 24th of the season.