Red Sox

Michael Chavis cares — Can we say the same about the rest of the Red Sox?

Red Sox

If there's one thing missing on the Red Sox right now, it's accountability.

J.D. Martinez complained so much about the lack of in-game video that manager Ron Roenicke basically issued him a cease-and-desist. Rafael Devers showed up to camp in subpar shape and is already injured. Andrew Benintendi is such a mess, his two hits on Tuesday raised his average above .100 for the first time since July.

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The Red Sox looked listless in an 8-2 loss to the Rays that tumbled them further into last place. The bullpen imploded after another solid start from Martin Perez, allowing six runs in the seventh and walking four. The offense stranded six men, grounded into two double plays, and had a runner erased on the bases.

"It's a crazy game," Perez said. "Just turn the page and come back tomorrow."

The problem, of course, is that Red Sox are very quickly running out of tomorrows. Sunday's walkoff win over the Blue Jays gave them their first momentum of this truncated season, with three wins in four games, and then they battled to the last out in an 8-7 loss to the Rays on Monday.

Tuesday's defeat was a special kind of awful, though, dropping them to 6-11, good for dead last in the American League, five games behind the Yankees and 3.5 behind the Rays.

 

One player seems to understand what's happening, however, and the Red Sox should follow his lead. Infielder Michael Chavis, in the midst of a hot streak after an awful start, was one of the few standouts in defeat. He went 2 for 4 with a triple and an RBI while playing second base, but all he wanted to talk about when it was over was a play he didn't make.

The Rays had already scored twice when Yandy Diaz grounded one up the middle with runners on the corners. Chavis's momentum carried him well past the bag as he turned and made the ill-advised decision to try to nail Mike Zunino at the plate with a jump throw instead of taking the safe out at first.

His throw sailed up the line and never had a chance, anyway. As soon as Chavis let it go, he grabbed his head in his hands. The Rays scored three more runs to open an insurmountable 8-1 lead.

On his Zoom call with the media, Chavis fell on his sword to an absurd degree.

"I thought about the play before it was happening," he said. "I decided if it was hit to my right or left, and it was hit decently hard on the barrel, I knew (Zunino's) not the quickest guy.

"I knew if I could get there quick enough and made a good throw, I could have had him. The ball bounced a little bit higher than I planned on or thought it would. When I had to jump for it, it just took my momentum and then I had to do a jump throw, which is where it got messed up. I should have decided to go to first base at that point. That's on me. Pretty much lost the game for us, honestly. That's pretty tough."

Wait a minute, lost the game? An 8-1 game? Even if Chavis makes that play, the Rays lead 5-1. The Red Sox weren't coming back from any deficit.

"It kind of just took the wind out of us," Chavis insisted. "I felt like it was kind of a kick in the nuts, honestly, plain and simple. I felt like we were battling, we were having good at-bats. I felt like the vibe in the dugout, in the clubhouse and everything was really good. After that, I just, it sucks. You could see, I felt like the air was kind of taken out of us. Something like that, they put up six in that inning. Whether I make that play, I get the out at first, whether those become unearned runs or earned runs, that's on me.

"At the end of the day, I've got to at least get an out," Chavis added. "I messed that up."

What stands out about Chavis's admission is how unexpected it was, because we haven't heard a lot of it from the Red Sox this year. Instead, we've heard about no video, and late arrival times, and terrible pitching forcing the offense to score too much. Those complaints fit the general malaise swallowing the club like the great molasses flood.

 

So when Chavis took ownership of a mental mistake — one day after appearing genuinely thrilled for teammate Jonathan Arauz recording his first hit — it was jarring. Accountability shouldn't be a pleasant surprise, and yet here we are.