embarrassing ugly. Humiliating. beautiful.
Pick one adjective for the Red Sox’ loss Friday night, one of the worst in franchise history.
It was a performance so bad you couldn’t take your eyes off it, and unlike anything seen in Fenway Park’s 110-year history, even the majority of the sellout crowd of 36,796 saw their team go. . Down by more than 20 runs in the fifth innings. When it all ended mercifully, the Green Monster scoreboard was almost impossible to believe.
Toronto 28, Boston 5.
Red Sox manager Alex Cora said it was tough to watch. “To be honest with you, it was tough being in the dugout.”
Someone told the Red Sox that the All-Star break was over.
The 28 runs allowed Friday set a franchise record. And the only loss in franchise history occurred 99 years ago on July 7, 1923, when they lost 27-4 to Cleveland, the first game of a doubleheader that day.
At least the Red Sox didn’t have to play another game Friday night.
As bad as they looked in the first month of the season, and as bad as they looked heading into the break, Friday night marked rock bottom for the 2022 Red Sox, who finished with a 5-12 record. After all, a strong start was needed. A start to July that included back-to-back losses to the Yankees last weekend.
“We’ve got to get better,” Alex Cora said before Friday’s game. “We have to be more consistent in every aspect of the game.”
They were worse in every aspect of the game.
If the Red Sox continue to perform like this, Chaim Bloom may have no choice but to sell at the August 2 trade deadline.
Then again, it’s hard to imagine the Red Sox playing this poorly again.
“We didn’t execute pitches. We didn’t play good defense,” Cora said. “Actually, offensively we grinded out at-bats against (Jays starter Kevin Gausman) for the first time this season, but overall. It was not a good night. We have to make adjustments. We have to find a way. …
“We just have to get better. Bottom line.”
Friday had it all, including an inexplicable inside-the-park grand slam that sent the night on a tortuous course. Nathan Evaldi wasn’t having it, and couldn’t make it out of the third inning. The Jays took a 6-0 lead only when Evaldi issued a four-pitch walk to Danny Johnson that loaded the bases and ended the righty’s night.
In came Austin Davis, who induced Ramel Tapia into a first-pitch fly ball to center field. Then disaster struck.
Just two weeks after Christian Arroyo lost a ball in the right-field twilight, it was Jaren Duran’s turn. The rookie center fielder — playing there instead of Jackie Bradley Jr. — never saw the ball, which landed about 30 feet behind him, bouncing off the warning track and the wall.
“Just lost it in the twilight,” said Doran.
“It’s the most helpless feeling you can ever feel.”
Duran barely moved when he turned around. He took a few steps toward the ball, then stood there as Alex Verdugo raced through left field, sliding for the ball and starting the relay. But he was too late to save the Red Sox from embarrassment. By the time Xander Bogaerts got the throw to shallow center, Tapia was well on his way home, sliding across the plate to complete an incredible layup.
“As soon as he hit the ball, I saw his reaction and I told (pitching coach Dave Bush), ‘He didn’t see that ball,'” Cora said. “You can’t do anything.”
“We try to make him better,” Cora said of the rookie center fielder. “He’s still a kid. He’s learning the position and all that. I bet at that point, he didn’t even know what to do.
And it just put the Jays up 10-0.
More ugliness, more shame unfolded. Danny Johnson hit a two-run homer in the fourth to make it 14-0. In the fifth, Matt Chapman hit an infield popup just down the mound, where Caleb Ortt, Raphael Devers and Kevin Plawecki formed a triangle to get the ball down the middle, scoring another run. It would have been the last out of the innings.
After nine runs, the Blue Jays scored 11 in the fifth to go up 25-3.
If ever a principle of mercy was needed, it would qualify.
“We went from two outs, two strikes to 11 runs,” Cora said of the fifth.
Each of the Red Sox’s first four pitchers of the game — Evaldi, Davis, Ortt and Darronzon Hernandez — gave up more than a record strikeout.
The Red Sox play again on Saturday at 4 p.m. There’s nothing they can do but move on from such a terrible loss. As Christian Vazquez put it, “We throw it in the trash, come back tomorrow and try again.”
“It’s a loss,” Cora said. “It doesn’t look good. It’s not about what they did offensively, but what we didn’t do defensively on the mound. …
“It’s not a lack of preparation. It’s not a lack of effort because we go about our things and execute the process the right way. I’d love to say it happens, but it doesn’t happen often. We just have to turn the page and get ready for tomorrow. That’s the only way you can attack tomorrow.