“It’s a balance. But I think as an organization, just talk about it, and keep preaching and do things in the minor leagues and player development that can help these kids to zone in and don’t run to the edges [of the strike zone] with the opposition and pick the right pitches.”
Then the game started and what Cora has seen so often with his team happened again in a 6-5 loss against the Toronto Blue Jays that took 10 innings on Thursday night.
In a 5-5 game, Reese McGuire led off the bottom of the eighth inning with a seemingly routine single to right field.
Blue Jays right fielder Teoscar Hernandez misplayed the ball into a triple, the first in 559 major league at-bats for McGuire.
Kiké Hernández pinch ran for McGuire at third base. With the infield in, all the Sox needed was a little flare or a fly ball to take the lead.
Bobby Dalbec saw seven pitches from Adam Cimber before striking out swinging at a slider. Jarren Duran was hit by a pitch. Tommy Pham struck out on four pitches.
Rafael Devers had a chance and grounded out to the right side, the ball deflecting off first baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. to second baseman Cavan Biggio. He threw back to Guerrero to end the inning.
It got worse.
The Sox had another opportunity in the ninth inning, this time to win the game. J.D. Martinez singled and pinch runner Alex Verdugo went to third on a double by Xander Bogaerts.
Jays interim manager John Schneider rolled the dice. He went with a five-man infield and walked Christian Arroyo intentionally to load the bases with no outs.
Toronto had little chance at surviving. But these are the 2022 Red Sox.
Triple A Hall of Famer Franchy Cordero struck out swinging. Hernández then grounded to third base. Gold Glover Matt Chapman calmly stepped on the base for the second out and fired to first to complete the double play.
That left the Sox 3 for 17 with runners in scoring position.
Toronto pushed across the go-ahead run in the 10th inning. The Sox then stranded their ghost runner in the bottom of the inning. They finished the night 3 for 20 with runners in scoring position, striking out 10 times.
“We’re trying. I don’t know. It’s tough, man,” Bogaerts said.
Cora’s pregame soliloquy was on target. The Red Sox need a better approach at the plate as a team and obviously a deeper roster. Once the opposition gets through the first four hitters, the Sox don’t offer much resistance.
“We’ve got to be better. That’s the bottom line,” Cora said. “You see the difference with [the Blue Jays].”
The Jays didn’t need a hit to score the go-ahead run. With Biggio on second to start the inning, Danny Jansen grounded to shortstop and advanced the runner.
George Springer then grounded a ball into the hole that Bogaerts fielded. Biggio was running on contact and just beat the throw. Putting the ball in play paid off.
Toronto is 13-3 against the Sox this season. The good news for the Jays is that they play three more games against the Sox at the Rogers Centre late in the season.
If they’re fighting for a playoff spot at that point, they’re golden.
The Sox have lost four straight and six of seven. They’re a beaten-down team with 37 games still to play. By then, they’ll be ready to pack up and go home — if they aren’t already.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism