Red Sox allow 28 runs for the first time in franchise history
On Friday night, I went to the worst game in Boston Red Sox history.
That’s not hyperbole.
In their first game after the All-Star break, the Sox gave up 28 runs, the most they’ve ever allowed in any game in their 122 years of existence. The previous record was 27 runs, which happened almost exactly 99 years ago, when Cleveland torched them on July 7, 1923. To put that amount of time in context, there was only one World War, the Hollywood sign was brand new (and still said Hollywoodland), and you could buy the newest Ford Model T for $364, the equivalent to $6,307.44 in 2022. A few months later, the New York Yankees, playing their first season in the House That Ruth Built, won their first of 27 championships, beating the then-New York Giants at the Polo Grounds. Field box seats for that series cost $6.60.
18,825 games in franchise history before Friday night and none so appalling as this one. There have been some bad games, bad stretches, and plenty of bad seasons, but this is a new low. I’ve probably been to 300 games at Fenway in my life, and watched hundreds more; I’ve never seen anything like this.
This game had everything, in the worst way. The Blue Jays set a new franchise record for runs scored in a game. Raimel Tapia hit an inside-the-park grand slam, the first in MLB since September 2017 and only the third in this millennium. In some outrageous twist of fate, both inside-the-park slams in Blue Jays history have come against the Sox at Fenway.
Growing up, when the Sox were good and would lose to a bad team, my father would tell me, “Anyone can get you.” He’s right; some nights just won’t be your night, even if you’re the better team. This game wasn’t that. This – if you can even call what it was a game – was the culmination of all the Sox’ problems laid to bare in one hellish nine-inning implosion.
Nathan Eovaldi has struggled to limit runs all year; only three of his 14 starts were shutouts, and he’s allowed 3+ runs in six games. The bullpen is useless; each of the first four Sox pitchers (including Eovaldi) who took the mound gave up more runs than they recorded outs. Going back to their last two games against the Yankees before the All-Star break, Sox pitching has now given up 55 runs in their last three games.
The situational hitting – or lack thereof – is another story altogether. While they’re one of the best extra-base hitting teams in the game, they struggle to bring runners home. In their 90 bases-loaded opportunities, they’ve hit four grand slams. They’re hitting .171/.277/.463 in two-out, bases-loaded situations and .215/.320/.385 with two outs and runners in scoring position.
Most nights this season, it feels like the Red Sox never really picked themselves back up after falling apart in last fall’s ALCS, when they somehow forgot to score runs after looking so dominant in the first few games of the series. They give off similar vibes to the 2012 Sox in that they have several talented players, but for a plethora of reasons and also no reason at all, they can’t get their act together. They’re also painfully reminiscent of the 2019 Sox, a team loaded with stars and fresh off a deep postseason run, underperforming while homegrown talent’s future hung over the season like a looming storm.
Friday night seemed like the definitive sign that the Sox should be sellers at the August 2 trade deadline. Their brief moments of success and brief hot streaks don’t make them a good team; their struggles against the rest of their division definitively prove otherwise.
The Red Sox aren’t the good team occasionally getting got. They’re the bad team that occasionally gets you.