BOSTON — Instead of starting out his postgame press conference Saturday night by saying, “Hi Jonny,” to WBZ’s Jonny Miller, who typically asks the first question in each conference, Red Sox manager Alex Cora simply said “Yeah,” when Miller said hello. He sat with a grim face and was visibly very frustrated after his team’s forgettable performance.
“Embarrassing is the word,” said Cora after their 10-1 loss Saturday night. “It starts from me. Five errors, we didn’t run the bases well, we didn’t put the at-bats, we didn’t pitch. I think, in this thing, it’s a team effort. It starts with us, the coaches, to keep coaching and we’ve been playing sloppy ball for a while and they keep doing it, so at one point, we gotta be accountable too. That was embarrassing today. It’s not acceptable. For a team that is fighting for the playoffs, to show up like that and play like that — it doesn’t matter if you win or lose the game — it’s how you win or lose the game. That’s not acceptable.”
Saturday, the Red Sox had just five hits and scored just one run while committing five errors and allowing 17 hits against the third-worst team in baseball. In addition, they ran into two outs on the bases, blatantly missed a tag at home plate in by far their ugliest game of the season.
Eduardo Rodriguez lasted just 3 2/3 innings, allowing five runs on eight hits, striking out just three batters.
“There’s not much to talk about him,” Cora said when asked about the Sox lefty. “You saw what happened. He wasn’t able to put people away, and he didn’t give us enough innings for us to win the game.”
The Rangers, who now sit at 43-80, currently sit as the third-worst team in the majors. Losses like that aren’t ideal for a team that’s 6.5 games behind a team that they were ahead of just months ago, the Rays, and now 2.5 games back of the Yankees, a team that they were as far as 10 games ahead of at one point in the season.
“We’re not in the base of trying to make plays — we have to make plays, and we haven’t been making plays for a while,” the manager said. “We have a job to do, we gotta play better, and today we didn’t play good. We deserved what happened today on the field.”
The Red Sox are starting to run out of excuses, as they haven’t seemed to click ever since they’ve fallen into a funk, which one might consider right before the All-Star Break, when they dropped two consecutive series to the Angels and Phillies. They did pick up the play a little bit after that stretch, but fell right back into a funk as since July 28th, they’ve gone just 7-15.
Despite that, don’t forget about where Boston was at the 81-game mark. The Red Sox were sitting in a comfortable first place, and on pace for 100 wins at 50-31, which was on July 1st, after a 15-1 blowout win over the Royals.
“They’re good. They’re very talented. Don’t get me wrong, we’re a good baseball team,” Cora remarked. “But at the same time, we gotta keep working hard. If we have to do more, we’ll do more. It’s hard to see, and it’s hard for them too. We just gotta help them out to get out of this.”
Currently, Boston sits a half game out of the wild card, with the Sox at 70-55 while the Athletics sit at 70-54. The Yankees lie first in the AL Wild Card at 72-55, 2.5 games ahead of the Sox.
“Yesterday was one day, like I’ve been saying all along, and today we took a few steps back,” Cora stated. “Like I said, it’s not acceptable. We gotta be better. We have a better team. It’s hard to watch — it’s hard on us. I hate the way we played today. I hated it. That’s the bottom line. I know a lot of people praise me because I pay attention to details and all that stuff, well that’s not attention to detail. That’s not good, sound baseball. ”
“It starts with leadership,” Cora added. “I’m the manager of this team, so I’m accountable. I gotta do a better job to put these guys in a better position to be successful.”
With 37 games left, the Red Sox are still in prime position to make a run for even the division. After Sunday, if the game even gets played, 19 out of the final 36 games remaining consist of teams that are under .500.
“I mean, I do,” Cora said when asked if he’s realized that the team is starting to run out of time. “And I know that most likely (the players) do. I know where we’re at. I know what we have in front of us, and we gotta get better. It’s a total team effort — organizational effort — this is not that guy, this guy, whatever. It’s everybody in the same boat. We put ourselves in a position to make the playoffs, and we still have a chance to make the playoffs. Obviously we have to be better, but we have to start now.”
(Photo By Winslow Townson/Getty Images)