By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — As everybody knows, it’s been a trying season for the defending World Series champs. The high moments have been greatly outnumbered by the lows, as the Red Sox try their best to stay alive — at least, somewhat alive — in the race for a playoff spot.
Monday night in Cleveland looked like it might be one of those rare bright spots — for a brief moment anyway.
It came in the ninth inning, with the Red Sox down to their final out, trailing 5-4 in the ninth inning in Cleveland. Xander Bogaerts launched a line drive to right field off closer Brad Hand, a ball that appeared to have been playable for right fielder Tyler Naquin. But as Naquin neared the fence, he misjudged the ball, allowing it to sail over his head and off the wall.
Mookie Betts, who had been on first base after drawing a walk, was running on contact, and he came around to score the tying run. The Red Sox were back in business, on the cusp of beating one of the hottest teams in baseball.
But then Andrew Benintendi flew out. And then Marcus Walden served up a leadoff homer in the bottom of the ninth to Carlos Santana.
And the Red Sox lost. Again.
Bogaerts, who’s been the man to speak to the media after every ugly loss this season, summed up the feeling in the clubhouse rather well.
“It was joyful for a quick five minutes,” Bogaerts said, per RedSox.com.
That quote alone may best describe this Red Sox season. Just as soon as something starts to go right, a dark cloud quickly rolls through the darken the mood.
The Red Sox may not have “deserved” to win on Monday, not after Eduardo Rodriguez put the Red Sox in a 5-1 hole in the third inning. But he managed to stop the bleeding there, giving the Red Sox six innings on 113 pitches. His outing ended with a strikeout of Franmil Reyes.
Homers from J.D. Martinez and Jackie Bradley Jr. helped cut that lead to 5-4, setting the stage for Bogaerts’ dramatic double in the ninth. It all looked like, at the very least, a gutsy effort that might lead to a road victory against a good team. That feeling lasted all of five minutes.
That’s just how it’s gone for the 2019 Red Sox, a team that seemingly can’t even buy a break.