The Boston Red Sox struggles have caused many to focus on their bullpen, but recently, the starting rotation has been equally as bad, if not worse.
We got much of the same on Thursday night, as the Sox fell in their series finale with the Tampa Bay Rays, 8-4, completing the three-game sweep.
Andrew Cashner started for the Red Sox and gave up seven runs on seven hits to go along with five walks. His command simply wasn’t there, and the Rays took full advantage. It was another instance of Boston not being able to get its starting pitcher through the sixth inning. Manager Alex Cora labeled the pitching woes as “concerning” following the loss.
“It is concerning,” Cora said. “I think we had seven or eight walks. Can’t do that. We don’t keep the ball in the ballpark… It was a rough one.”
Cashner’s seven runs allowed were a season-high for the righty and the most he’s given up since Sept. 12, 2018 when he gave up eight runs to the Oakland Athletics. The ugly outing brought the starting rotation’s ERA to 9.77 over this three-game series.
“I didn’t really command my fastball and that’s what makes me good,” Cashner said. “I tried to give us a chance to win and I didn’t do that.”
Boston was flying high entering this series, fresh off taking three of four from the New York Yankees, but that quickly became a thing of the past. The Red Sox have now lost four in a row after going 5-1 last week against New York and Tampa Bay.
“Started like a great homestand, but it didn’t end that way,” Cora said. “If we’re going to be involved in whatever talk for the playoffs, it better start tomorrow.”
The Red Sox better hope their pitchers step up this weekend in the Bronx or else it could be an ugly four-game series.
Here are some other notes from Thursday’s Red Sox-Rays game:
— Boston finishes the season 1-8 against the Rays at Fenway Park this season.
The loss also drops their home record to .500 at 27-27.
— The Red Sox went 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position, and Cora attributed the drop in numbers to not putting the ball in play.
“We didn’t put the ball in play,” Cora said. “In those positions, you have to put the ball in play.”
— Mookie Betts provided some good news in the mostly-negative evening.
With two runs, he became the fastest Red Sox player to score 100 runs in a season since Ted Williams in 1949, per MLB Stats. Betts leads Major League Baseball with 101 runs on the year.
— Xander Bogaerts went 4-for-4 in the loss, tying his season-high for hits in a game.
He clobbered two home runs to bring his season total to 25, a career-high for the shortstop.
— The Sox have homered in each of their last 17 games at Fenway Park, which is good enough for their longest streak at the venue since 1969, per Red Sox PR.
— The Red Sox now trail the Yankees by 10.5 games in the American League East race. They sit 3.5 games out of the second American League wild card spot.
— Boston begins a four-game set with the Yankees in New York on Friday with Game 1 beginning at 7:05 p.m. ET.
Thumbnail photo via Gregory J. Fisher/USA TODAY Sports Images