BOSTON — The Red Sox, who have lost six in a row, are mathematically eliminated from playoff contention and have nothing left to play for as the end of the season nears, have not had a fun 48 hours. Boston has sat through 138 minutes (or three hours and 18 minutes) of rain delays in two different cities over the last two days.
That, as well as an early-morning arrival back in Boston after Sunday night’s game was called at 10:45 p.m. ET, mark bad beats for a team that’s simply playing out the string. And the results have shown it, as the Sox lost, 2-0, as the Yankees finished off a four-game sweep Sunday then were routed by the Orioles, 14-8, on Monday night.
Still, Sox manager Alex Cora isn’t questioning his team’s effort or commitment. MLB players and coaches are paid to compete for a 162-game season and more than 25,000 fans paid for tickets to Monday’s game.
“I don’t want to sound sarcastic but on the 15th and the 30th, you get paid for this,” Cora said following the end of the game, which finished up just past midnight Tuesday morning. “You’ve got to show up.”
Cora then joked that the reporter who had asked the question probably would rather be elsewhere in the Fenway area other than the press conference room at the ballpark.
“Just like you, right now. You’re doing your job. You’re here,” he said. “You probably want to be at (Yard House) or somewhere having a drink but you’re here with me.”
While Cora thought his team played hard against Baltimore, he took issue with how the pitching staff performed in the opener of the club’s third-to-last series of the year. The O’s had 14 runs, 15 hits and five homers while walking eight times. Four of Boston’s six pitchers (Connor Seabold, Tyler Danish, Kaleb Ort and Franklin German) were tagged with multiple earned runs. Another, Zack Kelly, allowed two inherited runners to score.
“Not a good one, overall, pitching-wise,” Cora said. “Eight walks. A lot of deep counts. They hit the ball in the air, they hit homers. We did a good job defensively today. I think overall, pitching-wise, we have to be more aggressive in the zone. That’s something we haven’t done in a while. With a team like that, they hit the ball in the air and they hit homers.
“We didn’t pitch. We played good defense,” he added. “Bogey played great at short and Kiké made some great plays over there. We hit the ball hard, put some good at-bats. There’s going to be days like this pitching-wise.”
With nine games to go, the Red Sox holding tryouts for their 2023 roster. All six pitchers who appeared Friday are relative newcomers to the majors who are not locks for the Opening Day squad next spring.
“It’s a learning experience for some of those kids,” Cora said. “The ups and downs. Good two days ago and today you struggle. We’ve got to keep teaching them the game and helping them maneuver big league lineups.
“We’re learning a lot about ourselves, some of the guys that are here,” he said.