The Boston Red Sox may as well have just waved the white flag after the Toronto Blue Jays put on three days of offensive fireworks to cap a winless six-game homestand for Boston. The Jays crushed eight homers in the series and likely introduced the Red Sox to the term “rock bottom.” Boston’s seven-game losing streak is not something that re-signing Stephen Drew will automatically fix. It has been a total team effort contributing to this extended World Series hangover.
Issues are aplenty with this club. The back end of the starting rotation has run its course, as Felix Doubront has landed on the disabled list after getting injured by a car door, and Clay Buchholz is serving up batting practice on a nightly basis. The losing streak has now happened because it was only a matter of time before Jon Lester and John Lackey came back down to earth a little bit. Manager John Farrell did not specifically say who would take Doubront’s place for the time being, but he did not rule out the possibility of minor leaguers Brandon Workman or Allen Webster coming up to seize the moment. Now would be the best time for a young fireballer to come up and give the Red Sox a big shot in the arm, so the door is open in that aspect.
The offense has gotten almost no consistent contributions from top to bottom. Aside from the recently ignited Xander Bogaerts, no one else has pulled his own weight. The Sox scored four runs or less in each of the seven consecutive losses. The most disturbing part was that this recent swoon followed the best stretch of baseball the Red Sox had put together all year. Boston finally got over .500 after three consecutive series victories over Oakland, Cincinnati and Texas.
The Red Sox head down to Tampa for a series beginning on Friday. The Rays may not be playing all that well, but it is always a war when they meet up with Boston. Panic has definitely not set in yet, but it is time for the Red Sox to kick it into high gear. There are no immediate fixes to mitigate this team-wide poor effort. Bogaerts is the only member of the team hitting above .280. Jon Lester is the only starter with an ERA under 4.00. The bullpen and defense have mostly been fine, but something has got to give. The answer has to come from within, and it would be comforting to see another pump-up speech from David Ortiz similar to the one he gave to get the team going in the World Series last year. Heck, maybe he even needs to smash another dugout phone. Whatever it takes.
The Red Sox did not lose four games in a row all last season, which makes it even more unsettling to see them drop all six games of a homestand. The Drew signing was a subtle move by the front office, but it was telling in the fact that this team is in desperate need of a shot in the arm. Some consistent defense out of the shortstop position and a few big hits from the bottom of the order out of Drew will definitely help stir the pot, but this group as a whole has to start digging deep to find whatever it is that they lost.
Commentary by Justin Hussong
Guardian Liberty Voice Sports Writer covering the Boston Red Sox