Boston Red Sox

By Matt McCarthy,

The disappointing defending World Series champion Boston Red Sox have returned to the East Coast, a battered, bruised, and tired group after an 11-day road trip to open the season.

And they want you to know just how hard that trip was for them.

Spare me.

The Red Sox haven’t shied away from bringing up the grueling travel they’ve had in the last few weeks. There’s been a chorus of “we don’t want to make excuses” from players and the coaching staff alike.

They are absolutely making excuses.

I don’t care if the Red Sox spent the last two weeks on the West Coast or on Mars, they shouldn’t have the worst record in the American League at 3-8.

There is no acceptable excuse for that.

Apr 4, 2019; Oakland, CA, USA; Boston Red Sox center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. (19) and right fielder Mookie Betts (50) are unable to control a ball hit for a two run ground rule double by the Oakland Athletics during the fourth inning at Oakland Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Manager Alex Cora was the first to bring up the travel topic after one of the losses in Oakland, saying the team was tired and worn down.

Worn down? From what? A spring training where the organization made a conscious effort to go easy on the pitching staff after a taxing October?

“We just need to get back home and have all our fans remind us how good we are,” said David Price.

Were the droves of Red Sox fans that showed up in Seattle, Oakland, and Arizona not enough to remind Price and the Sox that they’re supposed to be better than this?

“I just want to get home,” Jackie Bradley Jr. added.

I just want to stop hearing about how difficult all the travel has been. Since when did a week-and-a-half road trip out west become uncommon in baseball?

Since departing Fort Myers two weeks ago, the Red Sox have flown 6,392 miles out west and back, and they’ve been sure to let you know about every single one of those miles.

“It feels like we’ve been on the road forever,” right-hander Heath Hembree told Bob Nightengale of USA Today.

What an injustice! The schedule makers really had it out for the poor, poor Red Sox, didn’t they?

Enough already. The travel the Sox had to deal with was nothing compared to the grueling itinerary two of their opponents out west had to deal with.

The Road Trip From Hell began in Seattle, where the Red Sox played the Mariners, fresh off nearly 10,000 miles of travel to and from Japan. The M’s took three-out-of-four.

I guess traveling the other side of the planet and back didn’t stop the Mariners from winning baseball games?

Mar 31, 2019; Seattle, WA, USA; Boston Red Sox left fielder J.D. Martinez (28) drops a ball for an error against the Seattle Mariners during the third inning at T-Mobile Park. Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports

The next stop on the Most Unfair Road Trip Ever was Oakland, where the Sox took on the Athletics, who were also coming off a trip to Japan. The 10,288 miles the A’s had logged on a plane the week before did not interfere with them taking three-out-of-four from the Sox as well.

But please, tell me more about how unfair the schedule makers were to the Red Sox.

Newsflash: every team has to play on the West Coast once or twice per year. Wouldn’t you rather get it out of the way right after spring training than in the middle of the season?

Baseball moved west of the Mississippi in 1957. Teams have had to travel there ever since.

Don’t tell that to the 2019 Boston Red Sox. It would ruin a nice excuse for a disappointing start.

You can hear Matt McCarthy on 98.5 The Sports Hub’s own Hardcore Baseball podcast and on various 98.5 The Sports Hub programs. Follow him on Twitter @MattMcCarthy985.

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