Boston Red Sox

By Matt McCarthy,

It’s May 29 and it’s not getting better for the Boston Red Sox.

And before you know it, they’re going to run out of time to make it better.

Your move, Dave Dombrowski.

Tuesday night’s calamitous 7-5 loss to the Cleveland Indians represented the most glaring example to date that this is not working. The Sox were rocked for seven runs in the eighth and ninth innings in the ugliest loss of the year. It was the the lowest moment of a season with plenty of low moments so far.

Predictably, the bullpen-by-committee approach has failed, just like it did in 2003. As it turns out, Matt Barnes can’t pitch every big inning. Somebody else needs to take the ball at some point, and outside of Brandon Workman, the Red Sox don’t have anyone else.

The shine is quickly coming off Marcus Walden after another rocky outing. Tyler Thornburg proved disappointing again before landing on the “injured” list. Ryan Brasier has looked nothing like the pitcher we saw last year. Instead, he looks like the guy who was pitching for the Hiroshima Carp in Japan less than two years ago.

The ball .091 hitter Greg Allen launched off Brasier Tuesday night appeared to be headed for Japan. Somebody check with NORAD.

May 28, 2019; Boston, MA, USA; Cleveland Indians left fielder Greg Allen (1) hits a game tying home run during the ninth inning against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Following the meltdown, Craig Kimbrel was the top trend on Twitter in Boston. Red Sox fans have seen enough: they want him back.

Don’t count on it. John Henry and company are done spending that type of money on this team. They’re up against the luxury tax again and they’re tapped out.

It’s now up to Dombrowski to find other options via trade to improve his bullpen. It can’t wait until July. It needs to happen in June. Waiting will do the Red Sox no good.

That said, the Red Sox problems extend beyond the relief pitching. They are, at best, an inconsistent bunch staying afloat in the American League due only to the weak competition around them. They are just a measly three games over .500 in a league where only six of the 15 teams are playing winning baseball.

The calendar is about to flip to June, and the Red Sox find themselves 6 1/2 games behind a Yankees team that has most of their best players on the injured list.

May 26, 2019; Kansas City, MO, USA; New York Yankees second baseman Gleyber Torres (25) celebrates with catcher Gary Sanchez (24) after hitting a three run home run during the sixgth inning against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken/USA TODAY Sports

The Sox head to New York for a four-game set this weekend, a bigger series than anyone could have predicted at this point in the season. You better believe 55,000 strong in the Bronx will smell blood.

The Yankees are 18-7 in May, have won 17 out of their last 22 games, and they are only going to get better when the likes of Judge, Stanton, Betances, Gregorious, Paxton, Sabathia, and Severino return.

As presently constructed, how much better will the Red Sox get? Nathan Eovaldi’s return will help, but it will do little to fix the problems this team is facing.

The chances of catching the Yankees are becoming more slim by the day. It looks increasingly likely that the Red Sox will be condemned to fight for a Wild Card berth.

On paper, the Sox should beat the Tampa Bay Rays, Oakland Athletics, or any team they would be matched up against in the play-in game, but who really wants to sweat the thought of going up against Tampa’s Tyler Glasnow or Blake Snell with the season on the line?

And if the Red Sox got a lead in that game, who would hold it?

Then again, baseball isn’t played on paper. If it were, the 2019 Red Sox would be much better than this.

But they’re not. This is who the Red Sox are right now. That needs to change, and quickly.

This isn’t working. That much is clear.

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.

Sign me up for the 98.5 The Sports Hub email newsletter!

Get the latest Boston sports news and analysis, plus exclusive on-demand content and special giveaways from Boston's Home for Sports, 98.5 The Sports Hub.

By clicking "Subscribe" I agree to the website's terms of Service and Privacy Policy. I understand I can unsubscribe at any time.