In 2018, the Boston Red Sox never felt out of a game until the final out was recorded.
Things just feel different this year.
The World Series-winning squad established a good precedent early on of eliminating late deficits while also preserving leads. But throughout 2019 they’ve struggled — mightily at times — to hold on to a lead.
Such was the case Monday night, as the Red Sox fell 4-3 to the Texas Rangers in 11 innings at Fenway Park. A great start from Chris Sale had the Sox up 2-1 in the ninth inning, but Matt Barnes let the Rangers go up 3-2. After the Red Sox forced extra innings, Ryan Brasier gave up a run in the 11th, which ultimately sank the Sox.
It was the third time already this season that the Red Sox have blown a lead in the ninth inning or later. And how does that compare to the 2018 group? Well…
Yeah, not good.
Here are some other notes from Monday’s Rangers-Red Sox game:
— Barnes’ meltdown against the Rangers was the continuation of some downright bad performances from the reliever lately.
In his last nine outings (which spans 7 1/3 innings), Barnes has allowed eight earned runs, which is good for a 9.82 ERA.
Early on, Barnes was one of the Red Sox’s most reliable bullpen arms. That since has fallen off, leaving the Red Sox with pretty much just Brandon Workman and (kind of) Marcus Walden that they actually can count on. What exactly Barnes needs to do to fix this mess is unclear, but he needs to find a way to get back on track.
— For yet another outing, Sale looked really good.
The left-hander lasted seven innings, allowing one run (which wasn’t earned) on three hits with one walk and 10 strikeouts.
Unfortunately for Sale, him spinning a gem and not getting rewarded for it in the win-loss column has become somewhat commonplace.
— The Rangers currently own the second wild card spot in the American League, so suffice to say this is a pretty important series for the Red Sox. With the loss, they now trail Texas by two games for the last spot.
Three games remain in this four-game set, though. So if the Red Sox can get back on track soon they can put themselves in a decent spot.
— Sox manager Alex Cora announced that Darwinzon Hernandez will start Tuesday.
Thumbnail photo via Brian Fluharty/USA TODAY Sports Images