May 10, 2022

Devers's Slam (And Cora's Razor?) Helps Cellar-Dwelling Red Sox Snap 5-Game Losing Streak

Manager Alex Cora shaved his beard and the Red Sox lineup showed some life on Tuesday evening, scoring six runs in the second inning in Atlanta, which was enough to carry the team to a 9-4 victory over the defending World Series champions.

The win snapped a five-game losing streak, in which the Red Sox had scored 5, 0, 2, 1 and 2 runs. It was only Boston's fifth win in its last 19 games since April 19.

"If we win 10 in a row, it's on me because I should have recognized that before," Cora said.

Rafael Devers led the way with a two-out grand slam off Kyle Wright, the third of his career (the first two  both came in 2018). Devers also doubled and walked and scored two runs. Xander Bogaerts went 3-for-5 and Trevor Story had two hits and drove in two runs. (Garrett Whitlock's off-night (3-4-3-4-5, 82) did not matter.)

Ken Rosenthal points out that while Bogaerts, Devers and J.D. Martinez are hitting, "every other Red Sox position player has an OPS-plus at least 35 percent below league average". (See the dreary OPS+ stats here.)

The bullpen has blown a league-high nine saves. Boston is 0-6 in extra innings and 3-7 in one-run games. Since Matt Barnes signed a two-year, $18.75 million extension last July, he has pitched in 33 regular-season games and posted a 6.92 ERA. In 2022, Barnes has allowed 12 runs in 10.1 innings this year, but since only nine runs have been earned, his ERA is 7.84.

Meanwhile, the Yankees (21-8) have won 14 of 16 games since April 22, a span that included an 11-game winning streak. New York had been held to two runs or fewer in each their last four games before Tuesday's contest against Toronto, but they rallied in the bottom of the ninth, with Aaron Judge's three-run homer giving them a 7-6 win.

The Red Sox (11-19, .367) are 10.5 GB in the division and 5.5 GB in the Wild Card standings (it's bad to be looking at that in mid-May). Only the Reds (6-23) are further out of first place. No team can win with six black holes in their lineup – including free agent Trevor Story, whose wince-inducing batting line was .194/.276/.269 before Tuesday's game) – but, hey, the season is not a lost cause*.

The 2019 World Series champion Nationals started 19-31 (.380).

Last year, Atlanta did not get over .500 until August 8 (56-56) and went on to win the 2021 World Series.

*: Actually, it probably is.

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