Don’t look now, people, but the Red Sox are getting exposed.
An overreaction? Perhaps, but it’s hard to ignore the results. Possessors of a 32-20 record as recently as two days ago – and that was a season-best 12 games over .500 following a 3-1 win over the Miami Marlins on Saturday – the Red Sox began a stretch of their schedule on Monday that can be described with only one word: grueling. Starting Monday, the Sox will play 17 games in 17 days, 16 of them against clubs that many expected to be playoff- and/or championship-caliber when the season began.
The results so far? 0-2 with a run differential of -13.
If that doesn’t shake your confidence some, it should.
Admitted manager Alex Cora last night following a second consecutive defeat to the Houston Astros to begin a seven-game road trip: “So far in this series we haven’t done much.”
Other than getting pantsed, he means.
Yes, we have a baseball season, Boston. The Red Sox are better than many of us expected or thought. But nobody believed the Red Sox were championship-caliber entering this season and we’re now starting to see why. In two games against a Houston team that has been to four straight American League Championship Series and has the best winning percentage in the AL starting in 2017 – cheating or no cheating – the Sox have suffered losses of 11-2 and 5-1. Cora’s imbalanced lineup is 10-for-64, a .156 average, with 21 strikeouts. When J.D. Martinez, Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers get silenced, it’s like the Sox have vertigo.
The pitching? Eduardo Rodriguez got his face ripped off again on Monday. And Garrett Richards, as competitive as he’s been overall, isn’t going to beat many teams 1-0, 2-1 or 3-2.
None of the Sox pitchers are.
As luck would have it, the Red Sox might soon be the focus of more eyeballs. The Celtics were eliminated from the playoffs last night, removing one more distraction from potential baseball watchers (if they still exist). The Bruins are tied with the New York Islanders 1-1 in a best-of-seven series that resumes tomorrow night in New York, and there is the chance that the Red Sox will be the only sports show in town as soon as the middle of next week.
By then, let’s hope the Sox have minimized the damage of the last two nights and righted the ship.
If not, we could be in for an especially long, quiet summer.
At least until the Patriots open training camp.