BOSTON — It’s been an awful 48 hours for the Boston bullpen.
After high-leverage arms hurt the Red Sox in Tuesday’s loss — their worst of the season — the bottom-tier relievers fared just as poorly in last night’s series finale against Cleveland.
In the span of two games, Red Sox pitchers allowed 21 runs over a nine-inning stretch, and Boston fell in doors-blown-off fashion, 14-9.
Here are five takes from a loss that was just as ugly as it sounds:
1. AC calls it like it is
“We need to play better,” Cora said. “The last 12 innings haven’t been good. We haven’t pitched well. We have to be better.”
For a couple of weeks now, the manager’s goal has been to get his team five games over .500. At 29-27, it’s been one step forward and another back. “It’s been a while,” Cora said. “We got close. We were, what, six outs away from getting there, and we didn’t get here. Just keep grinding to get the five games. I think that’s the goal.”
2. Doomed from the start?
Coming off an outstanding outing in Toronto, Ryan Weber couldn’t get anything going against the Indians. The journeyman was tagged for seven earned in four innings of work and put the Red Sox in a hole that proved insurmountable.
“My mechanics were a little off, I didn’t have my command,” Weber said. “The ball wasn’t sinking. I had nothing tonight.”
3a. Next crew wasn’t much better
From there, Josh Taylor allowed a run in his big league debut, Colten Brewer was tagged for two, and the Indians put a four-spot on Hector Velazquez.
Trailing 14-6 in the seventh, Fenway let out a mock cheer when Velazquez finally threw a zero on the board.
3b. Offense wouldn’t quit
If you’re a batter’s box half-full thinker, the Red Sox offense didn’t lay down despite their pitchers putting them in an eight-run hole. The Sox scored three in the eighth, then brought the tying run to the on-deck circle in the ninth.
“All of a sudden we get back, and you feel like, it’s the top of the lineup,” Cora said. “We load the bases and they’ve got to bring in their closer and we’re one swing away from getting back in the game.”
That swing never came, but if nothing else, the lack of quit is encouraging.
4. JBJ starting to swing it
Jackie Bradley Jr.’s batting average is still sitting at .185, but the center fielder has quietly started to heat up over the past two weeks. Batting .324 with nine extra-base hits in his last 10 games, Bradley added to that total last with a homer and a scorched double.
“(It’s) a work in progress,” Bradley said. “I feel like I’m going in with a good game plan and it’s always great when you execute what you’re working on.”
5. At least they’re rested?
With none of the top-tier relievers used in the blowout and four healthy starters lined up in the Bronx, Cora should have all his best arms on deck for a crucial series with the division-leading Yankees.
Chris Mason is a Red Sox beat writer for the Eagle-Tribune and CNHI Sports Boston. Email him at email@example.com, and follow him on Twitter at @ByChrisMason