BOSTON (CBS) — The Red Sox have plenty of issues with the Orioles, but Monday night’s problems on the field were entirely their own.
The Red Sox had enough trouble scoring runs against Orioles starter Dylan Bundy, but they were still down just 2-0 heading into the eighth inning. It was then that the Red Sox’ ugly defense and base running undid any chances they had of coming back.
The Red Sox committed three errors against three consecutive batters, first on a throw to nowhere by Heath Hembree, then on a botched grounder to Marco Hernandez, and finally on a throwing error by left fielder Andrew Benintendi. The Orioles scored three unearned runs to go up 5-0 and never looked back.
The offense began to battle back in the bottom of the eighth, but Hanley Ramirez’s lack of focus on the base paths helped kill the rally. The designated hitter knocked a single to left field but inexplicably kept running for a double, which forced Benintendi to leave second base for third where he was easily tagged out.
Manager John Farrell didn’t mince words when asked after the game about the Red Sox’ multitude of miscues on the diamond, which ultimately made the difference in the game.
“Defensively, those are plays that are routine plays,” said Farrell. “We’re better than that. We’ve got to clean it up. It’s a matter of anticipating the play before it’s hit to you.
“We’re in a tough stretch defensively, far beyond what our capabilities are, and we need to clean it up.”
[graphiq id=”fzJYD8TTBNX” title=”AL East Standings” width=”600″ height=”563″ url=”https://w.graphiq.com/w/fzJYD8TTBNX” ]
He mentioned Ramirez by name when talking about the base running blunder. But clearly, the biggest issue on the field for the Red Sox on Monday night was on defense.
The Red Sox have now made 23 errors on the season, most in the American League and tied for the third-most in the major leagues. Their .975 team fielding percentage is tied for the worst in the majors.
It goes without saying that the Red Sox have shown in the past how good they can be on defense. Monday night’s starting lineup fielded three former Gold Glove winners (Dustin Pedroia has won four). So it’s not an issue of talent, it’s a matter of focusing, getting the fundamentals down, and playing to the best of their abilities.
And as Farrell made clear, they need to clean it up in a hurry.