Boston Red Sox latest loss to Toronto shows they are beating themselves

Rafael Devers #11, Bobby Dalbec #29, Christian Arroyo #39, and Xander Bogaerts #2 of the Boston Red Sox (Photo by Mark Blinch/Getty Images)
Rafael Devers #11, Bobby Dalbec #29, Christian Arroyo #39, and Xander Bogaerts #2 of the Boston Red Sox (Photo by Mark Blinch/Getty Images) /

The Boston Red Sox lost yet again last night. this time to the Toronto Blue Jays by a score of 6-2. It was ugly. Even when the Sox tied the game at two heading into the bottom of the eighth inning, the feeling of disaster was looming.

Sure enough, Bobby Dalbec dropped the ball, literally and figuratively, on what would have been a nice play by Matt Strahm to make a critical out on a suicide squeeze attempt late in the game. Tyler Danish came into the game, as Kutter Crawford was unavailable due to unvaccinayed folks not being allowed into Canada, and gave up a single to Matt Chapman. Then, Bo Bichette happened.

As you can imagine, I switched to the Boston Celtics game at that point.

The Boston Red Sox lost another winnable game; does this team have a leadership problem?

The Boston Red Sox have been without their manager, Alex Cora, since he tested positive for COVID-19 prior to the team’s previous series against the Tampa Bay Rays. In his absence, the Sox are just 1-3.

In Tampa, the Sox got no-hit through nine innings before Bobby Dalbec provided a spark in extra innings with an RBI triple before he would come around to score himself on a sacrifice fly from Christian Vazquez, giving the Red Sox a 2-0 lead. In the bottom of the tenth, a Trevor Story error and a Kevin Kiermaier walkoff home run left Sox fans feeling devastated, deflated, and defeated. They are making a habit of losing winnable games.

Cora’s absence is undeniably playing a part in Boston’s early struggles. His presence provides an intangible comfort leading players to make less mental errors. With a strong clubhouse presence, the routine becomes routine again. Maybe Story takes an extra beat to throw the runner out on Saturday. Maybe Dalbec is aware that a ball is being thrown to him on Monday.

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You can even say he would have let Nathan Eovaldi cook in the eighth inning last night with a low pitch count of 72 against the bottom of the Toronto order. Bench coach Will Venable, who is filling in for Cora in his absence, pulled the plug on him a bit too early, as he didn’t want the top of the Jays order to see him for a third time.

"“The way we were looking at it is that we were’t going to have him face the top of the order again and it was a really good pocket for Strahm” -Red Sox bench coach Will Venable via Chris Cotillo/MassLive"

Despite Cora’s absence, these are professional athletes competing in the most competitive division in Major League Baseball. When the captain is out, somebody has to take control and steer the ship – but nobody has stepped up to this point.

The team’s 33.4 chase percentage is 5 percent higher than the league average. Who is working with Rafael Devers to be more patient and bring his staggering chase percentage of 41 percent down? It’s apparent the aggressive approach isn’t working, as Devers is carrying a pedestrian 110 wRC+.

Why is Tanner Houck only willing to do whatever it takes to win in 29 out of 30 ballparks? Could his and Kutter Crawford’s relaxed stance on winning divisional games come from veteran leadership in the pitchers’ room? Having Garrett Whitlock available in the bullpen in tight games sure would be nice right now with both those guys out. At what point can the team acknowledge that these choices, while personal, are also selfish and detrimental?

Next. Is it time for the Sox to call up Triston Casas?. dark

This team has all the talent in the world. On paper, they are better than they were in 2021, but it’s apparent that contract noise, COVID noise, or “who signed who and why didn’t we” off season noise has found its way into the clubhouse, and I fear that Cora’s leadership alone isn’t going to be enough to drown it out down the stretch.

Somebody needs to step up, preferably somebody looking for a contract this coming off-season. Until then, ladies and gentlemen, your

2011, 2019

, 2022 Boston Red Sox.