Boston Red Sox: Failure to bury Yankees may haunt Cora’s squad

NEW YORK, NY - JULY 18: Xander Bogaerts #2 of the Boston Red Sox in action during a game against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on July 18, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JULY 18: Xander Bogaerts #2 of the Boston Red Sox in action during a game against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on July 18, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) /

Have the real New York Yankees finally shown up against the 2021 Boston Red Sox or is Alex Cora’s crew just playing some sluggish baseball coming out of the All-Star break?

In losing their third consecutive series following the 9-1 loss to the Evil Empire Sunday night, the Red Sox need to regroup.

Following strong outings by Eduardo Rodriguez and Nathan Eovaldi, the starting pitching has been fine, it is the Red Sox offense that has been sputtering a bit.  Even with Martin Perez giving up some runs Sunday night, the inconsistency at the plate kept the team from staying competitive in the game.

Boston Red Sox offense needs to wake up

Are these offensive power outages something to be concerned about as the team approaches the heat of the pennant race?

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The Red Sox manager certainly acknowledges the trend, and it may all just be a matter of patience at the plate.

"“We haven’t hit,” Cora said following the game, via  “We haven’t hit since we were on the West Coast.  We’ve been chasing pitches.  We’re in one of those stretches, kind of like when we played Houston [May 31-June 3].  We love to swing the bats, but we’ve been chasing pitches out of the zone for a while.”"

With hitters like All-Stars Xander Bogaerts, Rafael Devers and J.D. Martinez in the heat of the lineup, the struggles won’t last.  It is just when the entire lineup goes through one of those lulls that the team loses momentum at the top of the A.L. East.

Boston Red Sox may regret not burying the New York Yankees

Prior to the three-game set at the Bronx, the Boston Red Sox absolutely owned the New York Yankees this season.

A rivalry that quickly turned one sided looked to stay that way after the team took the first game of the series.  However, a shortened middle game of the series and an absolute trouncing in the final game has the Yankees suddenly breathing again in the A.L. East.

Yes, the team has its problems, but a trade here or there along with a boost of confidence can have the Yankees sniffing around the top of the division again, especially if the Red Sox don’t show a little more cockiness.  Christian Vazquez is certainly down with a bit more swagger as the team as a whole need to act and play like a first-place team.

"“I think we need to continue to play hard, like we are in first place.  We need to act more like we’re in first place.  I think that’s the key for us,” Vazquez said following the game.  “We need to be more cocky, like ‘We’re in a good place.’  And we’re not acting like that.  That’s what I see right now.”"

In summary, what Vazquez is saying is that the Boston Red Sox need to put their foot on the neck of the rest of the league instead of simply playing not to lose first place.

The Boston Red Sox have a first base problem

The Red Sox not only lost the weekend series to the Yankees on Sunday night, but they also lost a potential option at first base as infielder Christian Arroyo went down with a hamstring injury in his debut at first base.

In attempting to stretch off the bag to field a catch, Arroyo suffered the injury which now has the Red Sox back to the drawing board when it comes to first base, at least temporarily.

According to Cora, Arroyo could spend some time on the injured list.

"“It’s most likely an (injured list) thing,” Cora said in a postgame video conference, as transcribed by NESN.  “He just felt it when he stretched.  It’s a hard one, right? Because we felt like, I mean, he was ready, of course, to play first, but he stretches and that happens.  It’s a tough one for us, but we’ll bounce back.  Most likely Danny (Santana) will be here tomorrow.  Well, Danny will be in Buffalo.  We’ll see how he feels, whatever, and we’ll go from there.”"

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With Arroyo expected to return to first base duties once he returns from the injury, the spotlight is back on Bobby Dalbec to attempt to reclaim his status as an every day first baseman.  The team also has some short-term options like Santana and potentially Frenchy Cordero.  They could also find a solution before the MLB Trade Deadline.

That last option will probably depend on how fast Arroyo returns and how he feels.  Hamstring injuries have a way of lingering.