Hard reality beginning to set in for Red Sox of they are what they are

Ryan Hannable
July 16, 2019 - 10:55 pm
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Ever since April it seems like everyone has been saying the same thing when it comes to the Red Sox: they will eventually turn it around and figure it out.

Well, it’s now nearing the end of July and they are double-digit games out of first place in the American League East and just can’t seem to build any momentum no matter what they do.

Tuesday’s game was indicative of the entire season: they did some things well, but then other things not so well in a 10-4 loss to the Blue Jays.

"We were talking about it. Obviously there are other teams that are swinging the bat well against us, but they’re putting good at-bats," Alex Cora said afterwards. "Guys who aren’t having great years are putting good at-bats against us. You look at the numbers and, not average, but the other stuff, it’s like surprising. Seems like we don’t execute and when we don’t they take advantage of it. Either off-speed pitches or fastballs, spoiling pitches from day one against us it’s been — they’ve been all over us regardless of the results of the game. It’s good at-bats after good at-bats.

"We can be up 8-0 and they keep fighting or they can add on like tonight. It’s something that I know they’re better offensively. There are some guys over there that made some adjustments in the minor leagues and got here. There are other guys that got called up and they control the strike zone and put up quality at-bats. It’s kind of like we have to make adjustments with them. It’s something that has to start tomorrow because the at-bats are great since day one."

(Click here for a complete game recap.)

Andrew Cashner made his Red Sox debut, but it wasn’t what he had hoped. The veteran right-hander allowed five earned runs (six overall) in five-plus innings, which matched his total allowed over his final five starts with the Orioles.

“I don’t think I was very sharp, didn’t really command my off-speed very well, didn’t really do a lot of things well but I feel like I kept us in the game," he said.

The outing also was indicative of how things have been going for the Sox all year.

Xander Bogaerts gave the Red Sox a quick 1-0 lead with a home run in the first inning, but then Cashner allowed three runs in the top of the second. Then after trailing 4-1 going into the fifth, the Red Sox scored three times to tie it, only to see Cashner allow a solo home run on the very first pitch of the bottom of the sixth.

It also wouldn’t have been a 2019 Red Sox game without the bullpen being an issue. 

Coming in for Cashner in the sixth, Josh Taylor committed a throwing error when trying to pick off Teoscar Hernandez at first base and he was able to advance to third on the play. Then when it appeared he would get out of the jam, Taylor threw a wild pitch allowing Hernandez to score the sixth run of the game for the Blue Jays.

Even when the game was basically over, the bullpen had issues as Heath Hembree and Ryan Weber combined to allow four runs in the ninth.

Cora summed it up perfectly before the game: “We’ve been consistent at being inconsistent.” Most nights feature some positives, but then negatives that have for the most part out-weighed the positives resulting in games being lost.

The Red Sox went into the All-Star break on a high note by winning their last four games. Things seemed to be trending in the right direction, especially with seven straight home games to open the unofficial start of the second season. But, after dropping two-of-three to the Dodgers and splitting the first two games with the Blue Jays, the Red Sox find themselves exactly where they are going into the All-Star break, being double-digits out in the AL East and fighting for one of the two Wild Card spots.

"I mean you can't go on a roll if you win one lose one win one lose one," Bogaerts said. "I think we all are aware of that. But it seems to not happened as of yet. We've still got another couple more games to go and we should take it the same like we did closing out the first half."

Not great, and an uncomfortable position as the trade deadline nears.

As Cora said before the game, the team knows they need to get better now, but games like Tuesday are doing the exact opposite since the same things keep occurring. 

While by in large the team is the same one that won the World Series a year ago, it’s starting to become a reality that what has been shown over the first 75 games of the season is really what the 2019 Red Sox are: consistent at being inconsistent.

And that turnaround that everyone has expected since the first month of the season? It might not be coming at all.

Related: Alex Cora on current issues in Puerto Rico: 'I feel more worried now than when [Hurricane] Maria went by'