At this point, frankly, the mistakes have been clownish, as if they are playing on an endless loop. The Red Sox can’t pitch or play defense and they only hit sometimes, which is why we should probably stop wondering if the Red Sox can play themselves back into the playoff race and start asking whether they can avoid last place.
Or maybe we should ask whether the Sox even want to.
Welcome to Boston, Eric Hosmer and Tommy Pham.
In the words of Chesley Sullenberger, “Brace for impact.”
So, how low can these Sox go? Good question. Their free-fall suddenly seems bottomless. Since the start of play of June 27, the Sox are 12-24 in 36 games and 1-9-1 in 11 series, the latest a four-game set at the woebegone Kansas City Royals in which the Sox lost 3-of-4. A candidate for the nadir of his suddenly miserable season (and there are many nominees) came in the bottom of the seventh inning, when Jarren Duran misplayed a pair of fly balls that turned a 5-3 Kansas City lead into a 7-3 bulge.
An inning later, left-hander Darwinzon Hernandez couldn’t have found the plate with a proverbial fork and knife, throwing just seven strikes in 23 pitches. Hernandez allowed four walks and a single to trigger a six-run Royals “rally,” during which Kansas City extended the lead to 13-3.
During the 36 games, the Sox now have suffered defeats of 12-5, 10-5, 14-1, 13-2, 28-5 and 13-5,
Things are so bad that Pedro Martinez openly wondered on national television what the hell his organization was doing.
Listen for yourself:
.@45PedroMartinez comments on the @RedSox's future following MLB's trade deadline today: "I just don't see where the path is leading for the Red Sox, to be honest." #MLBonTBS pic.twitter.com/4USo7dEFOW— TurnerSportsPR (@TurnerSportsPR) August 3, 2022
Now, say what you will, but when Pedro starts calling out chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom by name on a national broadcast panel, that’s noteworthy.
That said, Bloom isn’t the only problem here, even if the roster he has constructed is the biggest issue facing the Red Sox in the short term and the long. It’s one thing to lose and another to lose with no dignity, the latter of which the Sox now seem to be doing with greater regularity. Following his misplays yesterday, Duran had to be corralled by teammate Alex Verdugo when he started verbally jousting with fans, which is never a good look.
Jarren Duran is having an interesting 7th inning— Jomboy Media (@JomboyMedia) August 7, 2022
Misplayed a ball, couldn't secure a fly ball, makes a diving catch and argues with some fans pic.twitter.com/w0MCSCnRtJ
Meanwhile, a week earlier, Verdugo was the one engaging with fand in the Monster Seats after a Kolten Wong scraper caromed off the ground and over his head. Verdugo’s exchange was tame by comparison – “My bad,” he appears to be saying – but it certainly seems as if the Red Sox are reacting to most everything at the moment.
Yesterday, when asked about Duran’s behavior, manager Alex Cora said he didn’t see it, which is hard to believe given that Verdugo traveled over from his position in right field in an attempt to rein in his teammate. Whatever the case, the Sox’ play and their behavior is a reflection on Cora as surely as it anyone else, from the highest reaches of Jersey Street to the lowest.
Once again, we’ll ask the question: do the Sox want to avoid finishing last or not?
And if they don’t, well, a last-place finish this year would mean that the Red Sox of the John Henry ownership era will have had more last-place finishes (five) than World Series championships (four), a dubious distinction for which there will be no parades.