Embarrassing. Ugly. Humiliating. Pathetic.
Pick an adjective for the Red Sox’ loss on Friday night, one of the worst in franchise history.
It was a performance so bad you couldn’t keep your eyes away, and unlike anything ever seen in the 110-year history at Fenway Park that even most of the sellout crowd of 36,796 in attendance didn’t leave as they watched their team go down by more than 20 runs in the fifth inning. When it was all mercifully over, the Green Monster scoreboard was almost impossible to believe.
Toronto 28, Boston 5.
“It was tough to watch,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said. “It was tough to be in the dugout, to be honest with you.”
Somebody let the Red Sox know that the All-Star break is over.
The 28 runs allowed on Friday marked a franchise record. And the only loss in franchise history that was worse came 99 years ago on July 7, 1923, when they lost 27-4 to Cleveland, which was the first game of a doubleheader that day.
At least the Red Sox didn’t have to play another game on Friday night.
As woeful as they looked in the first month of the season, and bad as they looked going into the break, Friday night marked rock bottom for the 2022 Red Sox, who needed a strong start in the worst way after a 5-12 record to start July that included back-to-back lopsided losses to the Yankees last weekend.
“We have to be better,” Alex Cora said before Friday’s game. “We’ve got to be more consistent in every aspect of the game.”
They were worse in just about every aspect of the game.
If the Red Sox continue to perform like this, Chaim Bloom may have no choice but to sell at the Aug. 2 trade deadline.
Then again, it’s hard to imagine the Red Sox playing that poorly again.
“We didn’t execute pitches. We didn’t play good defense,” Cora said. “Actually, offensively we grinded at-bats against (Jays starter Kevin Gausman) for the first time this season, but overall not a great night. We’ve got to make adjustments. We’ve got to find a way. …
“We’ve just got to be better. Bottom line.”
Friday had it all, including an inexplicable inside-the-park grand slam that sent the night onto a torturous path. Nathan Eovaldi didn’t have it, and couldn’t make it out of the third inning. The Jays only led 6-0 when Eovaldi issued a four-pitch walk to Danny Jansen that loaded the bases and ended the righty’s night.
In came Austin Davis, who induced Raimel Tapia into a first-pitch fly ball to center field. Then, disaster unfolded.
Exactly two weeks after Christian Arroyo lost a ball in right field twilight, it was Jarren Duran’s turn. The rookie center fielder — playing there instead of Jackie Bradley Jr. — never saw the ball, which landed about 30 feet behind him, bouncing off the warning track and the wall.
“Just lost it in the twilight,” Duran said.
“It’s the most helpless feeling you could ever feel.”
When he turned around, Duran barely moved. He took a few steps toward the ball, then stood there as Alex Verdugo raced from left field, sliding for the ball and starting the relay. But he was too late to save the Red Sox from embarrassment. By the time Xander Bogaerts received the throw in shallow center, Tapia was well on his way home, sliding at the plate to complete an unbelievable sequence.
“From the get go, when he hit the ball, I saw his reaction and I said to (pitching coach Dave Bush), ‘He didn’t see that ball,’” Cora said. “There’s nothing you can do.”
“We try to make him better,” Cora said of the rookie center fielder. “He’s still a kid. He’s learning the position and all that. I bet at that point, he didn’t even know what to do.”
And that only put the Jays up 10-0.
More ugliness, further embarrassment continued to unfold. Danny Jansen hit a two-run homer that made it 14-0 in the fourth. In the fifth, Matt Chapman hit an infield pop-up just below the mound, where Kaleb Ort, Rafael Devers and Kevin Plawecki created a triangle for the ball to land in between them, which scored another run. That would have been the last out of the inning.
Nine runs later, the Blue Jays had plated 11 in the fifth to go up 25-3.
If there was ever a need for a mercy rule, this would have qualified.
“We went from two outs, two strikes, to 11 runs,” Cora said of the fifth.
Each of the Red Sox’ first four pitchers of the game — Eovaldi, Davis, Ort and Darwinzon Hernandez gave up more runs than they recorded outs.
The Red Sox play again on Saturday at 4 p.m. There’s nothing they can do but move on from such a hideous defeat. As Christian Vazquez described it, “We toss it in the garbage, come back tomorrow and try again.”
“It’s one loss,” Cora said. “It doesn’t look great. It’s not about what they did offensively, but what we didn’t do defensively, on the mound. …
“It’s not lack of preparation. It’s not lack of effort because we keep going about our stuff and going about the process the right way. I would love to say that this happens, but it doesn’t happen often. We’ve just got to turn the page and be ready for tomorrow. That’s the only way you can attack the day tomorrow.”
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