It appears John Farrell has seen enough.
The Boston Red Sox manager witnessed his team suffer an ugly 13-7 loss Monday night to a Tampa Bay Rays team that hadn’t won a game in its previous 11 tries. Starting pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez gave up nine runs in just 2 2/3 innings, the Red Sox didn’t plate a run until the fourth and Boston’s bullpen allowed four runs.
Immediately after that debacle at Tropicana Field, Farrell called his team together for a meeting and delivered a simple message.
“The bottom line is, (Rodriguez) is capable of more. We’re capable of more,” the Red Sox manager told reporters, as aired on NESN’s “Extra Innings Live.” “We need to get better, and we had a chance to share that here after the game (Monday). We collectively have to get better.”
The Red Sox are in the midst of a pretty tough stretch, as they’ve lost six of their last eight games and now are just six games above .500 at 41-35. After leading the American League East just two weeks ago, Boston now trails the Baltimore Orioles by four and a half games.
The one glaring issue for the Red Sox during their recent skid has been their starting pitching. With the exception of Steven Wright and Rick Porcello, Boston’s starters have struggled mightily, with even ace David Price getting knocked around in his latest outing. Rodriguez hasn’t found consistency all season, and Clay Buchholz was the latest starter to have a rough outing in the back end of Boston’s rotation.
Farrell is well aware of his team’s shortcomings on the mound and addressed the issue in Monday’s impromptu meeting.
“To continue to fall behind as much as we have of late, we’re more talented than that,” Farrell added. “We have the capabilities of executing pitches at a higher rate, and we can’t continue to expect our offense to climb out of holes as we’ve been. We’ve got to set the tone and lead the way from the mound, more than we are.”
As their manager suggested, the Red Sox are better than how they’ve been playing of late — on the offensive end, at least. They still entered Monday with the highest-scoring offense in baseball and are in line to start four players in Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game on July 12. Boston also still owns a half-game lead over the Kansas City Royals for the AL’s top wild-card spot and have two more games against the Rays to turn things around before beginning a nine-game homestand Friday.
That said, Monday’s loss was about as ugly as we’ve seen from the Red Sox this season, prompting Farrell to draw a line in the sand and hopefully stop his team’s slide in its tracks.
Thumbnail photo via Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports Images