Sports | July 13, 2022 11:24 am

Watch Red Sox Go Full “Bad News Bears” to Blow Game Against Rays

Boston literally threw away the lead against Tampa and ended up costing themselves an important victory

Boston manager Alex Cora watches the Red Sox
Boston manager Alex Cora attempts to watch the Red Sox without getting ill.
Mike Ehrmann/Getty

On what should have been a good night for the Red Sox given the way that former All-Star pitcher Chris Sale performed on the mound (five scoreless innings, three hits, one walk and five strikeouts) during his first outing in the majors this season, Boston’s abysmal defense went full-on Bad News Bears en route to an ugly loss.

With Sale out of the game in the sixth inning and the Rays trailing 2-0, Boston reliever Ryan Brasier allowed a pair of Rays to reach base before Boston manager Alex Cora replaced him with lefty Matt Strahm. Facing pinch-hitter Francisco Mejia, Strahm allowed a single up the middle to make it a 2-1 game. That’s when it got ugly.

With runners at first and second and needing just one out to get out of the inning with a lead, Strahm was hit on his left wrist by a comebacker off the bat of Tampa’s Taylor Walls that should have been a single (or maybe even an out) Clearly in pain, Strahm made a poor decision and threw wildly to first base even though Walls was already safe, allowing a run to score.

Going from bad to worse, inexperienced first baseman Franchy Cordero threw off the mark to the plate instead of running the ball in and catcher Christian Vazquez, who was asking the umpire to call time due to Strahm’s injury, missed the errant toss which allowed Meija to score the go-ahead run. It was a play befitting Little League, not MLB.

The pair of throwing errors were too much for Boston, which saw another boneheaded play when outfielder Alex Verdugo got picked off third base while attempting a safety squeeze in the seventh inning, to overcome, and Tampa Bay ended up winning 3-2. Adding insult to injury, the Rays moved ahead of the Red Sox in the American League East and the wild-card race with the win.

“I mean, Strahmie’s just desperate, right?” Cora said after the game. “Like he just looked for the ball and threw it and the other one you know Frenchy throwing to the plate, I think it took a bad hop on Christian or whatever. He tried to block it, but it is what it is, you know, we walk a guy there before that and they got a base hit up the middle. It just happened that our pitcher got hit on the wrist and he tried to make a baseball play out of desperation.”

With the Rays leading the season series 6-2, the teams will meet again tonight with Boston’s Josh Winckowski (3-3, 4.35 ERA, 1.52 WHIP, 21 strikeouts) taking on Shane McClanahan (9-3, 1.73 ERA, .82 WHIP, 141 strikeouts) of Tampa. Given those numbers, things could get ugly for Boston again.