August 10, 2021

After 2-8 Road Trip, Red Sox Limp Home To Face First-Place Rays

The Red Sox went 2-8 on their recent road trip to Tampa Bay, Detroit, and Toronto. Since July 26, they have lost 10 of 13 games.

The Red Sox (65-49) are now four games out of first place. And their opponent for the next three days at Fenway Park will be the Rays (68-44), the team that has overtaken them in the AL East.

Boston scored more than four runs only twice on the 10-game road trip - and one of those games was a loss in which they blew a 7-2 lead. The pitching staff had a 5.92 ERA. The pitching has been poor for the last month. In the 27 games since July 7 (11-16), the team ERA has been 5.26. Chris Sale returns to the rotation this weekend.

Kyle Schwarber has had a minor setback with left groin tightness during his rehab from a right hamstring strain. The bump in the road is not expected to delay Schwarber's return to action, but, as Jen McCaffrey notes, with the Red Sox thinking of putting Schwarber at a position he's never played before, "a hamstring strain coupled with groin tightness could make the move to first more challenging, given the stretching involved to reach throws".

Matt Collins (Over The Monster) needs to vent. He admits seeing disturbing similarities between this season and the 2011 campaign, such as a "sense of drawn out dread, and knowledge of impending doom with nothing you can do to stop it":

FanGraphs, as of this writing, gives Boston just under a 71 percent chance at making the postseason, and just under a 27 percent chance of still winning the division. They’re getting Chris Sale back this weekend, and hopefully Kyle Schwarber will join the fold shortly thereafter. The Red Sox are not, literally speaking, done.

But good lord does it feel like it. . . . And it's impossible to just not keep pointing back at the trade deadline. . . . [T]his roster needed help. It was clear in the days leading up to the deadline that they had to do something. Whether it was Chaim Bloom's call on the inactivity because he didn't want to give up prospects, or it was ownership's call to not exceed the luxury tax, I don't really care. . . .

Either Bloom and company built a complete team full of players they saw more potential in than anyone else that was a legitimate AL East contender as they looked for most of the year, and still decided they weren't worth an investment, or they got lucky and actually just put together another mediocre roster and recognized that fact, in which case that's not all that impressive . . . 

The reality still exists that the team has more than six weeks to turn around a bad 11 games. That's far from impossible. . . . But for now, I just keep thinking about that first season I wrote about this team, and I can't shake the similar aura, even amid all of the other differences.

1 comment:

johngoldfine said...

Didn't Carlton Fisk once ask in September despair something like: 'How can a team be mathematically eliminated while still in first place?'