With a 4-2 loss to the New York Yankees on Sunday, the Boston Red Sox extended their losing streak to seven games.
But before the third game of the series at Yankee Stadium, Boston got together for a team meeting to address the skid.
Kevin Pillar, who hit a solo home run in Sunday’s loss, said in his postgame video conference that leaders on the team called for the meeting to discuss overcoming obstacles and sticking together through this difficult stretch.
“We’re really just trying to make the best of a unique situation with the season. I know things aren’t going really well, we still have a ton of games left, and we got to stop feeling sorry for ourselves and come out every day. This one is tough, we were in the game,” Pillar said.
“This season is going to happen whether we want it to happen or not. We’ve got 40-some-odd games. A lot can change.”
That’s the right way to look at it.
Here are other notes from the Red Sox-Yankees game:
— Alex Verdugo had another quality performance Sunday night.
The outfielder, acquired in an offseason trade for Mookie Betts and David Price, showed yet again that he’s a bright spot in the Red Sox’s season thus far.
Verdugo was the only member of the Red Sox to record a multi-hit game, batting 2-for-4. He also added an impressive outfield assist where he hosed down Mike Tauchman running to second.
He's new to the AL, so consider this a warning:
DON'T RUN ON ALEX VERDUGO. pic.twitter.com/qt78RRCe4X
— Red Sox (@RedSox) August 17, 2020
Verdugo’s high energy, despite the losing streak, is apparent.
“I like the timing of his hitting now, he’s on time a lot more to catch that fastball but also he’s staying back enough to hit the off-speed,” manager Ron Roenicke said of Verdugo postgame. “His play in the outfield was outstanding, throwing the guy out at second base, the stolen base was executed really well to get him to third base. So all that leads us to believe that here’s a guy that can do a lot of different things to help you win ball games.”
— Chris Mazza was called up and made his Major League Baseball start, and on paper, it looks much worse than it was. He went three innings in which he gave four earned runs on eight hits and a walk in a losing effort.
But the Red Sox certainly didn’t help him with run support, and Roenicke didn’t harp on the outing.
“I thought it was OK,” Roenicke said of Mazza. “I know they got runs off of him but they really didn’t hit that many balls hard. The numbers look worse than I think he pitched. I think he threw the ball well.”
— The bullpen certainly had a good game, especially Ryan Weber, who went three scoreless innings. giving up just two hits.
Now with two solid performances out of the bullpen, the coaching staff hasn’t decided if it’s earned Weber a spot back in the rotation or if he’s too valuable in relief.
“We loved seeing Webby the last two times and what he could do,” Roenicke said. “I don’t know whether that folds him back into the starting rotation or if we just love what he’s doing out of the bullpen. I think it’s a great feeling to know that he’s there and know that he can come into a game and throw up a bunch of zeros. So it’s pretty valuable what he’s doing the last two outings. If we could keep it that way it would be great.”
— One thing is for certain, if the Red Sox are going to turn things around, they should do it sooner rather than later, as the Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays are running away with the AL East. In Boston’s last 28 games against those two teams, they’ve gone 3-25, batted .107 and have a -80 run differential, per Boston Sports Info.
Of course, that streak is continued from the 2019 season, but the trend certainly has continued here in 2020. The Red Sox are now 9 1/2 games behind the Yankees for first place in the division.