The Boston Red Sox had a three-run lead and a prime chance to stack up a pair of wins on the back end of their four-game road stint against the Oakland Athletics.
The result? A 7-3 loss as the opening trip from hell continued to rear its ugly, ugly head for the Sox, who now sit at 2-6 on the season.
Eduardo Rodriguez kept up the early going’s theme of dreadful starting pitching, giving up a 3-0 lead in the third inning on one swing of the bat from Stephen Piscotty. But beyond that, the Red Sox fell victim to costly mental errors that did them no favors in dropping their third game of the series in Oakland.
And that fact never was more apparent than in the fourth inning, when Gold Glove outfielders Mookie Betts and Jackie Bradley Jr. were caught looking at one another as a Piscotty fly ball dropped between them and bounced over the wall for a two-run ground rule double that effectively opened the floodgates and just about stuck a fork in Boston for the rest of the afternoon.
It was the latest deflating moment in what has been a dispirited start from the defending world champs. After the game, manager Alex Cora put that lack of attention to detail on himself.
“I pay attention to details, I love paying attention to details, and that’s something that I took pride in last year, and right now we are not paying attention to detail and that’s on us. that’s on me, that on the staff,” Cora said, as seen on NESN’s postgame coverage. “I know there have been mistakes, but at the same time, it gets to a point that we have to keep teaching the game and putting them in spots that they are going to take advantage of certain situations.
“Honestly, you know, today I was watching and there were a few things that were great last year that we’re not doing right now,” Cora added. “It’s early enough that we can clean it up, but that’s on us. Obviously we need to talk a little bit more about the game, we gotta get it going. Regardless of the results, you win or lose, but stuff like that can’t happen and that’s a reflection on us.”
Here are some other notes from Thursday’s Red Sox-Athletics game:
— There is no other way to sum up Rodriguez’s first starts other than a disappointment.
After a promising spring that was full of hype and expectations, Rodriguez has yet to make it out of the fifth inning in either of his first two starts, and was pulled in the fourth Thursday against the A’s having allowed six runs on eight hits.
Rodriguez now is 0-2 with a 12.38 ERA, having allowed 11 runs over eight innings with 16 hits.
— Boston nearly made a last gasp effort in the ninth inning after Betts led off with a walk. Andrew Benintendi lofted a single to center which would have put runners on first and second with no outs, but Betts was gunned down by Ramon Laureano trying to stretch to third on the base hit, killing the rally.
It was Laureano’s third outfield assist of the series, and a massive mental mistake from Betts, which he owned up to according Cora.
— This is the worst start to a season by a World Series champion since the 1998 Florida Marlins, who lost 11 straight after an Opening Day win.
That team, of course, underwent a massive fire sale, but nonetheless went on to finish 54-108.