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Game 99: Guardians at Red Sox

Is this it?

Cleveland Guardians Vs. Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park Photo by Jim Davis/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

The Red Sox are now in last place. The slow start, the fight to .500, the push to get 10 games’s all been erased. Boston is now 3.5 games back of the final Wild Card spot with the Toronto Blue Jay, Seattle Mariners, and Tampa Bay Rays all in the postseason as of today. The trade deadline looms large. Per Sam Kennedy, the Red Sox are not currently discussing trades of Rafael Devers or Xander Bogaerts.

The 2-10 Sox need to get things going well again in a hurry though if they want to play any type of meaningful baseball in August and September. We’re not crossing out October, but that’s going to require two really good months now.

Nathan Eovaldi has had an OK year so far. There have been some highs - a complete game against the Baltimore Orioles - and some lows - 1.2 innings and 9 runs (6 earned) to the Astros. After missing a month, his two starts since returning to the rotation - 4.1 innings, 3 runs and 2.2 innings, 9 runs - have not really looked like the same guy. After placing fourth in Cy Young voting in 2021 something has been off with Eovaldi almost since day one this season. The lowest Eovaldi’s FIP has dipped this year is 4.48 and stood in the mid-to-high 4s even as his ERA dropped to the low 3s. One reason? The long ball. Eovaldi just can’t stop giving up homers this year. In just 75 innings he’s allowed 18 home runs. His career high of 23 came in 2016 over 124 innings. In 2021 he gave up just 15 dingers inn 182 innings. In his last two starts opponents have just two homers (although 1 home run and 9 runs allowed is bad for other reasons) but any of these can make a bad inning that much worse.

Jeter Downs has looked, unsurprisingly, over-matched, in the majors. Which, with Devers and Story both on the IL gives the Sox a combination of Dalbec and Cordero at the corners. While you may want to hire Dalbec & Cordero, Attorneys at Law to defend the Sox they’re being asked to play defense at places they’re not the most suited.

Terry Francona (still miss him) turns to Cal Quantrill, one of many baseball sons in the game these days, to guarantee a split in Boston. He’s only been striking out 15% of batter this year and has a .287 BABIP. His 3.75 ERA vs 4.41 FIP compares favorably to Eovaldi (in that, Eovaldi has been rocked at times) so maybe there’s an opening here. If only the full roster were available.

There are 63 games remaining this season. Alex Cora has 333 managerial wins with the Sox, 10th most in history. Next up is Eddie Kasko with 345. Just playing .500 the Sox could reach this in a matter of weeks. Playing like July (so far) it could be close to accomplish in the remainder of the season. The Yellow Sox are back in the City Connect uniforms and even without Big Papi in the house for support, hopefully they bring good luck,

Game 99: Guardians at Red Sox

Lineup spot Guardians Red Sox
Lineup spot Guardians Red Sox
1 Steven Kwan, LF Jarren Duran, CF
2 Amed Rosario, SS Alex Verdugo, LF
3 Jose Ramires, 3B Xander Bogaerts, SS
4 Josh Naylor, 1B J.D. Martinez, DH
5 Franmil Reyes, DH Christian Vázquez, C
6 Owen Miller, 2B Franchy Cordero, 1B
7 Nolan Jones, RF Bobby Dalbec, 3B
8 Austin Hedges, C Jackie Bradly Jr., RF
9 Myles Straw, CF Yolmer Sanchez, 2B
SP Cal Quantrill, RHP Nathan Eovaldi, RHP