As a fan of the Boston Red Sox, it was disappointing to see them struggle against the Cleveland Guardians. The Red Sox were unable to rally and fell short in a 2-5 defeat. Errors on the field and a lack of timely hitting prevented Boston from gaining any momentum. It was frustrating to watch the Red Sox run into a wall in this game, but there’s still hope for them to turn things around and compete for the playoffs.
The Boston Red Sox and Cleveland Guardians recently faced off in a three-game series that concluded on August 15, 2021. While the Red Sox had won the first game of the series, the Guardians took the final two games, including a 5-2 victory in the series finale. The loss was a missed opportunity for Boston to extend their lead in the American League East, and they now find themselves struggling to keep up with their division rivals.
In the series finale, the Red Sox sent Nathan Eovaldi to the mound, hoping to clinch the series victory. Unfortunately, Eovaldi did not have his best game, allowing five runs on six hits and three walks in just four innings of work. The Guardians, on the other hand, got a strong performance from their starter, Zach Plesac, who tossed six innings of two-run ball, striking out four along the way.
The Red Sox were able to put together some hits against Plesac, with Rafael Devers and Hunter Renfroe both launching home runs. However, a lack of timely hitting and poor situational baseball led to the team stranding eight runners on base, including six in scoring position. The Guardians, on the other hand, were able to capitalize on their opportunities, with Amed Rosario and Franmil Reyes each driving in two runs.
The Red Sox offense has been one of the most potent in baseball this season, ranking second in the league in runs scored and OPS. However, they have struggled in recent weeks, scoring just 3.67 runs per game over their last nine games. In the series against the Guardians, Boston tallied just eight runs in three games, with the majority of those runs coming in the first game of the series.
One of the biggest issues for the Red Sox has been their inability to get timely hits. In the series finale against the Guardians, they had multiple opportunities to drive in runs with runners in scoring position, but they were unable to come through. The team is hitting just .215 with runners in scoring position over their last nine games, which is a significant drop-off from their season average of .268.
Another issue for Boston has been their lack of production from the bottom of the lineup. Over the last nine games, the team’s seventh through ninth hitters are hitting just .209 with a .558 OPS. This lack of production from the bottom of the lineup puts added pressure on the top of the order to produce, which can lead to teams being overly aggressive at the plate and less patient in their approach.
The Starting Pitching
The starting pitching has been a strength for the Red Sox this season, with the staff ranking sixth in the league in ERA. However, the rotation has struggled in recent weeks, posting a 5.28 ERA over their last nine games. In the series finale against the Guardians, Nathan Eovaldi was not able to give the team a quality start, and the bullpen was forced to cover five innings of work. The team has had to rely heavily on their bullpen this season, which could lead to fatigue down the stretch.
The Red Sox defense has been another area of concern in recent weeks, with the team committing 12 errors over their last nine games. In the series finale against the Guardians, it was a defensive miscue by Bobby Dalbec that led to two unearned runs. Dalbec, who is typically a first baseman, was playing third base in the game and made a throwing error that allowed the Guardians to extend their lead.
The Red Sox are now 2.5 games behind the Tampa Bay Rays in the American League East, and their lead over the Oakland Athletics for the second wild card spot is just one game. The team has a tough stretch of games coming up, with series against the New York Yankees, Texas Rangers, and Minnesota Twins on the horizon. If the Red Sox want to make the playoffs this season, they will need to find a way to get their offense back on track and get consistent performances from their starting rotation.
The Boston Red Sox ran into a wall in their series against the Cleveland Guardians, dropping the final two games of the series and missing out on a chance to extend their lead in the American League East. The team is struggling to get timely hits and production from the bottom of the lineup, while the starting pitching and defense have also been issues in recent weeks. The Red Sox now find themselves in a battle for a playoff spot, and they will need to find a way to get back on track if they want to make a deep run in October.