The Boston Red Sox are in the midst of their worst stretch of the 2021 MLB season as they've now lost six of their last seven games.
On Thursday, the Red Sox fell 8-1 in their series finale vs. the Detroit Tigers. Left-hander Martin Perez was pulled after 1 1/3 innings with three runs allowed on five hits. Phillips Valdez relieved Perez with 2 2/3 shutout innings, but trade deadline acquisitions Hansel Robles and Austin Davis couldn't keep it close as they allowed a combined five runs on eight hits out of the bullpen.
Boston's offensive woes continued as it went 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position. Altogether, manager Alex Cora had plenty of reasons to be frustrated with his team's recent play.
"I can put it plain and simple for everybody. I don't think you guys have to ask many questions today," Cora told reporters after Thursday's loss. "We didn't pitch, we didn't play good defense, we didn't hit. It wasn't a good effort today. Where we're at right now, we gotta get better and that's the bottom line. ...
"Offensively, we didn't do much. I think with runners in scoring position we struggled again. And for us to pull this off, we have to play better baseball overall. It looks like right now we're a step slower, we're not moving well. I know we're in August and it's a grind, but we have an opportunity to play in October and we put ourselves in this situation. People can doubt us or they can feel like this team can do it, but bottom line, we gotta show up every day and be better."
With their latest defeat, the Red Sox slide to 1 1/2 games behind the first-place Tampa Bay Rays in the American League East standings. Their lead over the New York Yankees shrinks to 4 1/2 games.
Next up for Boston is a big four-game set vs. the Toronto Blue Jays, who have won seven of their last 10 and trail the Red Sox by 5 1/2 games in the division. As for how he'll handle the scuffling pitching rotation in the series, Cora is taking it one day at a time.
"Tomorrow's going to be Nate [Eovaldi]. We'll go from there," he said.
Game 1 of Red Sox-Blue Jays is scheduled for Friday at 7:07 p.m. ET in Toronto.