Horrible Red Sox defense adds insult to injury in must-win, emotional home games

Cleveland Guardians v Boston Red Sox
Cleveland Guardians v Boston Red Sox / Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/GettyImages

Since April 9, the Boston Red Sox have played two games that were supposed to symbolize something bigger than baseball.

The Red Sox's home opener on April 9 brought with it a series of anniversaries and memories. The 2004 World Series-winning club was in attendance and the memories of Larry Lucchino and Tim and Stacy Wakefield were honored before the game.

April 15 is One Boston Day, and this year it was also Patriots' Day, just as it was 11 years ago when there was a fatal attack on the sidelines of the Boston Marathon. The Red Sox have played at home on Patriots' Day every year since 1959 and they've posted a 71-55 record in their Patriots' Day showings since 1903, which includes 26 doubleheaders.

The Red Sox lost on Opening Day at Fenway Park and their Patriots' Day success rate ticked down after their April 15 loss. Both of Boston's recent high-stakes games resulted in losses at the hands of the defense.

The Red Sox's defense has cost them multiple high-stakes games just weeks into the season

The Red Sox committed two fielding errors on April 9, one by Jarren Duran in the outfield and the other by David Hamilton at shortstop. Duran's error didn't directly result in a run scored, but he could have ended the Orioles' inning before they scored two runs on the following play to take a 3-1 lead. Hamilton's miss, coupled with a fumble by Rafael Devers that was not ruled an error, were the nails in the Red Sox's coffin, as the runner they just could not put away scored for the Orioles' fifth run of the day.

On Patriots' Day, Kutter Crawford kept runs off the board through 5.2 innings. Even after Greg Weissert gave up a two-run homer in relief, the game was still winnable for Boston.

But in the following frame, José Ramírez doubled with two runners on to score Steven Kwan. Wilyer Abreu rushed to make a play in right field to hold Brayan Rocchio on the bases, but he made a poor throw that Hamilton couldn't get to. Rocchio scored and the Red Sox's shot at Patriots' Day glory died as quickly as Boston's defense without Trevor Story.

The Red Sox have been their own killer in many of their recent losses. Since Story went down with a season-ending injury on April 5, Boston has committed a staggering 14 errors and a fair few miscues that resulted in unearned runs as errors sprinkled in.

It's hard to tell what's causing the Red Sox's surge of errors. It may be a lack of confidence in the infield since Story's exit, or sheer unpreparedness all around. Either way, this level of play is unacceptable from a major league team.

The Red Sox organization seems committed to giving internal options a chance to make an impact in the field, but their time has long passed. Boston was one of MLB's worst defensive teams last year and it's hurtling toward the same fate this year if changes don't get made.

The excuses that the players committing the gaffes are young and inexperienced will only work for so long, and they're already starting to wear off. The Red Sox had an entire offseason to remedy their defensive issues, but like so many other aspects of the team, serious improvements to Boston's defense were neglected by ownership.

And just weeks into the season with months and months of baseball still to be played, the Red Sox's defensive failings are already burying them in winnable games.

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