This team. (I sighed deeply when writing that). I swear they don't like to make anything easy; of course they never have my entire life, so I suppose this is nothing new. The annual June swoon is in full bloom (hey, that rhymed!) and the Red Sox had better snap out of it before things start to get away from them. Last night I coached my son's travel team in a doubleheader that finished under the lights (which is always fun, whether you're a kid or an adult) and got home to find the Sox tied a run apiece with the Twins. Maybe I was bad luck, because as soon as I turned on the game it was all downhill.
David Price was on the mound for the Red Sox and with the way he's been pitching the last month, it seemed as though they'd be able to right the ship after the hard luck way Chris Sale has been treated by the offense. Price was mostly good, going six innings. He only struck out three and walked one, but he did give up three runs on two homers. However, it still probably would have been enough (and probably should have been enough) to get the win if only the Red Sox could, you know, score some runs. Boston only mustered a measly four hits, two of which were from Mookie Betts. Mitch Moreland and Xander Bogaerts had the other two hits while everyone else went dead silent at the plate. The Twins struck first when Robbie Grossman hit a solo homer in the bottom of the first to quickly put Minnesota ahead. The Sox tied it in the top of the second when a throwing error on a Jackie Bradley hit brought in Mitch Moreland. That would be it for Boston, though. Max Kepler hit the second home run off a Price in this game, a two run shot to make it 3-1 Twins. They'd tack on an insurance run in the eighth off of Brian Johnson, who gave up an RBI double to Brian Dozier. With that, the Sox went meekly into the night, losing 4-1 and looking every bit as pathetic doing it as I'm trying to convey with the written word.
With the Yankees winning Boston is now two games behind in the division, and with the Astros also winning we're now in possession of the third best record in the league. While there is still half the season to play, this is the time when teams begin to separate themselves from the pack whether it's in a good way or not. The Red Sox have loads of talent and belong in the upper echelon of teams in the league, but apart from April they just haven't been able to string it together on a consistent basis at all. They're 32-24 since the 17-2 start and while that's not terrible, I can think of at least ten games off the top of my head that they should have won during that stretch that they somehow lost. When I hear myself saying this, it feels like deja vu because I used to say the exact same thing during the John Farrell years. Alex Cora is a better manager than Farrell, but he's still cost this team some games with his bizarre lineups and his rigid adherence to rest schedules. That's not as egregious as Farrell's baffling and inane in-game management, but the end result is far too often the same. Ditto the bullpen, which blew a ton of games during Farrell's tenure and has done the same so far this season. The Red Sox had better figure something out, and fast, because with two tough series against the Mariners and Angels coming up at home followed by a series in the Bronx looming at the end of the month, this very well could be a critical period where the season will be won or lost.