By Tony Massarotti, 98.5 The Sports Hub
“It’s just one game. I’m not going to get caught up in we’re getting better or we will be better. It’s just one day. We played good today.”
- Alex Cora after Monday's win over Oakland
In this business, in this day and age, heaven knows we make a big deal out of it when someone says the wrong thing. So maybe it’s worth noting today that Alex Cora said something that sounded indisputably right.
Aided by the colossal ineptitude of the Oakland A’s – yes, the other guys screwed up this time – the Red Sox rallied from a 4-0 deficit and posted a 9-4 win at Fenway Park on Monday night. Never mind that the Red Sox walked seven batters. Never mind that starter Eduardo Rodriguez couldn’t get through five innings to qualify for a win. Never mind that the Sox threw two wild pitches and hit into two more double plays.
The A’s were worse.
In the end, maybe that’s why Cora wasn’t taking any bows, especially as the Red Sox continue to spin their wheels as if stuck in the Alabama mud. The Red Sox have now played 29 games this season and April is essentially in the books. They have not won more than three games in a row. They have won as many as two straight only three times, which means they haven’t played consistently well for consecutive days – let alone weeks – for what amounts to an entire month.
So please, can we stop with the idea that every win can be a springboard of some sort? The Sox have had walkoffs. They have had comebacks. They have even won two games by shutout.
What they haven’t done is win consistently while playing for any extended period of time at an above-average level, so maybe it’s time to stop asking them to go on a run when they haven’t even been able to walk.
As Chris Gasper notes in Tuesday's Boston Globe, Cora needs to tighten the reins here. Maybe he already has. The Red Sox simply weren’t ready to play this season and they are an inexcusable 0-6 in games started by Chris Sale. No matter how much the Sox tell us that they are trying to preserve Sale for the end of the season, there’s no way they can tell us with a straight face that 0-6 is an acceptable tradeoff.
Can the Sox turn it around? Sure. Maybe. Heaven knows they have the talent. But what the Sox need to do is to stop talking about wins as springboards and actually keep working for them, which requires the same, singular and daily focus that they had for much of 2018.
Then – and only then – maybe they will look up in a couple of weeks and realize that they have actually won eight of 10.