The Red Sox are playing ….. baseball and Alex Cora is …..
BOSTON — The mental miscues continued for the Boston Red Sox on Wednesday night, and it cost them yet another game against a divisional foe. Alex Cora has seen enough of it, and the manager aired out his frustrations followed the team’s 4-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays.
“We’re not playing good baseball right now,” Cora said after the Red Sox lost their third straight game and seventh of their last 10. “It’s a lot of mistakes. It’s costing us games. We need to start playing better baseball if we want to be the team we envisioned in spring training.”
Recently, we’ve seen the Sox drop easy fly balls. We’ve seen them commit two costly errors on the same play. We’ve seen them run into outs and get picked off in important moments.
The frustrating play continued Wednesday. After Rafael Devers scorched a double for Boston’s first hit against Shane McClanahan (who allowed one run off three hits over 6.1 innings), he was thrown out trying to go to third on a ball that briefly got away from Rays catcher Francisco Mejia. Not ideal with your team down 2-0 against one of the hottest pitchers in baseball. He did this with one out and J.D. Martinez at the plate.
That was fundamental mistake No.1 for Boston. Unfortunately, there was another.
In a 3-1 game in the bottom of the seventh, Tampa Bay’s Josh Lowe scored from first base on a one-out single. You read that right: He scored from first base on a single.
Lowe was off with the pitch when Yandy Diaz sent one through the hole at second base. Boston right fielder Rob Refsnyder picked up the ball, but then he hesitated. He made matters worse by throwing a half-hearted lob into the infield, which got away from cutoff man Xander Bogaerts.
While the Red Sox were snoozing in the field, Lowe was busting it on the base paths. Rays third-base coach Rodney Linares kept his eye on the ball and when he saw Refsnyder’s indecisiveness, he gave Lowe the green light to head home. Lowe easily scored to make it a 4-1 game.
The Red Sox are still in the thick of the Wild Card race, but they’re limping to the All-Star break. They have now lost 11 of their last 16 games, and all the good mojo from splitting last weekend’s series with the Yankees has evaporated after dropping the first three against the Rays. Boston is now a woeful 11-23 against the AL East.
The Red Sox currently have 11 players on the Injured List, but Cora said that is no excuse for their lack of execution lately.
“There’s a lot of moving parts but [the Rays have] got a lot of moving parts. They have a lot of injuries and they keep playing,” he said. “They play 27 outs and they’re playing good baseball and they’re pitching and they’re hustling and that’s why they keep winning.”
Cora made sure to clarify that he wasn’t implying that his team isn’t playing hard, but they need to clean it up. The Rays, despite their injury issues, have won eight of 11 and are now 1.5 games up on the Red Sox for the top Wild Card spot in the American League.
“Nobody is going to feel sorry for your injuries or whatever,” said Cora. “You have to show up every day and we’ve been very sloppy lately and we’ve got to get better.”
The Red Sox will look to avoid a four-game sweep at the hands of the Rays on Thursday night, before starting a three-game series against the Yankees in New York.