Back when the world wasn't garbage, Red Sox manager Ron Roenicke raved about Xander Bogaerts' leadership in Fort Myers by highlighting the shortstop's relentlessly positive demeanor.
"Bogey shows up every day and as soon as you see him, there's a smile," Roenicke said in February. "He's in a great mood every day."
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Roenicke hoped the Red Sox would follow the young All-Star's lead, and so it was jarring to see and hear Bogaerts via Zoom after Monday's 7-4 defeat to the Mets — shoulders slumped, voice subdued, outlook decidedly bleak after another listless loss.
"It's rough, bro," Bogaerts said. "[Expletive], it's tough, it's tough. Obviously it's not just like one run. It's a couple of runs and then they just find a way to add on before we can get something going. It kind of separated pretty quick by a couple of runs and it gets tough."
Bogaerts raised eyebrows before Friday's opener when he admitted the Red Sox lack one of baseball's better pitching staffs, and the reality is proving much worse than that refreshingly honest critique.
On Monday, Red Sox opener Josh Osich allowed a massive two-run homer to Michael Conforto before reliever Jeffrey Springs served up a two-run missile to Pete Alonso and a three-run shot to Dominic Smith. It was 7-0 before the Red Sox even hit in the fourth.
The Red Sox tried to make it a game behind home runs from Mitch Moreland and Bogaerts, but that's too big a hole and it's wearing on the team's best all-around player.
"We were down 7-0 and we just kind of chip, chip, chip and this is showing the offense we have," Bogaerts said. "Obviously we've got guys who haven't been swinging the way we know we can. That's going to change. This team is just built so good offensively. We proved that we can come back. We're capable of doing that."
Bogaerts paused before adding, "I mean, if you've got to score eight, nine, 10 runs every game, I think honestly it's a little tough."
A rotation that was supposed to feature Chris Sale and Eduardo Rodriguez instead includes neither, since Sale underwent Tommy John surgery and Rodriguez is resting with inflammation of the heart after being stricken with COVID-19.
Even if those two had stayed healthy, the Red Sox looked pretty thin, but ownership didn't want to spend this winter, which is how presumed fourth starter Martin Perez is suddenly taking the ball after right-hander Nathan Eovaldi, and presumed swing man/depth option Ryan Weber is the third starter.
That would test anyone, but the fact that it's clearly straining the otherwise effervescent Bogaerts shows just how dire a situation the Red Sox face only four games into the season.