Break too little, too late for broken Boston team – Boston Herald


After 16 consecutive days of play, the Red Sox finally caught a break on Thursday.

Unfortunately, the much-needed day off likely came too late for Boston’s beleaguered team, which went 1-6 during their homestand against the Los Angeles Dodgers and Houston Astros, to wrap up August with a 13-15 record.

Every game of the regular season counts, but this was the 10-game stretch when Red Sox needed to be, as Mary Poppins would say, “practically perfect in every way.”

Instead, they fell apart in almost every way. Starting pitchers averaged 4.6 innings per start in August. The Astros pummeled the Boston bullpen within an inch of its life during this week’s sweep, and other than Adam Duvall, the team should have an all-points bulletin out for the Boston bats. After Triston Casas gave the Red Sox a 2-0 lead in the first inning of Monday’s series opener, Houston outscored Boston 26-9 the rest of the week.

A day off, or rather a travel day before their weekend series in Kansas City, can’t fix any of that.

With 28 games left in the regular season, the Red Sox’s chances of sneaking into the postseason are thinner than paper. Wednesday’s loss pushed them to 7 1/2 games behind the Astros in the Wild Card race.

At this point, finishing the season with a winning record and keeping the Yankees in last place is probably the best this team can do.

Roster moves

The Red Sox reinstated Wilyer Abreu from the Paternity List on Thursday afternoon. His Major League debut came last week in Houston.

Over five games for the big-league club, the 24-year-old outfielder is 6-for-17 (.353) with a pair of doubles, one home run and five RBI.

As the corresponding move, the Red Sox optioned infielder David Hamilton back to Triple-A Worcester.

It was a bit of a surprise to see Hamilton sent down, but Ceddanne Rafaela, who was called up for Abreu, offers more versatility; he plays shortstop and centerfield. Even before the season began he was considered a Major League-caliber defender by many evaluators within the organization and around the league.

Rafaela got into his first-ever Major League game on Monday night, playing the last two innings in center. The 22-year-old top prospect — ranked No. 3 in the organization — made his first career start on Wednesday, and spent all nine innings at short.

Enmanuel Valdez was also pulled from Worcester’s Wednesday night game, and could be joining the big league team on the road.

Waive goodbye

The Los Angeles Angels sent shockwaves through the league this week when they placed six players — starting pitcher Lucas Giolito, relievers Reynaldo López, Dominic Leone, and Matt Moore, outfielder Randal Grichuk, and and former Red Sox slugger Hunter Renfroe — on waivers.

Has there ever been a bigger white flag moment in the league’s waiver history?

These extreme measures cap off a stunning month for the Angels. Five weeks ago, they were buying big before the trade deadline, hoping to end a nine-year playoff drought before Shohei Ohtani reached free agency this fall. Anaheim gave up left-hander Ky Bush and their top catching prospect, Edgar Quero,to acquire Giolito and López from the Chicago White Sox. That same week, they traded for Grichuk, C.J. Cron, and Leone.

After all that, the Angels went 8-19 in August, placed Mike Trout back on the injured list after one game, and found out Ohtani had a tear in his UCL and wouldn’t be able to pitch for the rest of the year. (He’s continued hitting, though; he’s collected eight hits, including three doubles and a triple in six games since finding out about the tear.)

Thus, they threw in the towel, offering up prized players for pennies. All they get in return is the $50,000 waiver fee per player. This gambit also puts them under the luxury tax threshold.

The Angels are paying a steep price in more ways than one, and it won’t end with the season. They mortgaged their farm system to help them make a playoff run, and will feel that ripple effect down the road. Furthermore, in going to these extremes, they painted an unflattering self-portrait: Now, players around the league know that should they sign on with Arte Moreno’s club, they can be cast off at any time if it means saving a few bucks.

Other teams utilized the same rule, though none to the extent that the Angels did. The Mets placed starter Carlos Carrasco on waivers. The White Sox did the same for Mike Clevinger, and he cleared waivers on Thursday, meaning he’ll ride out the remainder of the season with them.

The Yankees placed outfielder Harrison Bader on waivers; he found out because ESPN was on in the clubhouse. Hopefully, the Reds, who claimed him along with Renfroe, are better at communicating.

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