NEW YORK — The Red Sox lack pitching talent and their record is a reflection of that. It’s the foundation of all their problems.
But what has made this season a rolling disaster is the lack of attention to detail. Friday night’s 10-3 loss against the Yankees offered the latest example.
The Sox trailed by a run when Ryan Brasier came out of the bullpen to start the fifth inning. He got two quick outs before Gleyber Torres singled.
Torres hasn’t stolen a base this season and the Sox had first baseman Mitch Moreland play off the bag against Mike Tauchman, a lefthanded hitter.
Moreland told Brasier he was dropping back. But Brasier nevertheless twirled to throw to first and was charged with a balk.
“Ryan forgot,” manager Ron Roenicke said.
Torres easily scored when Tauchman doubled to left field. Gary Sanchez followed with a 457-foot home run to center when Brasier threw a two-strike up and over the plate.
Sanchez extended his arms and hammered it as Brasier grimaced
The needless balk helped turn a winnable game into just the latest rout for the Sox.
“We can take getting beat,” Roenicke said. “But we don’t want to give it to teams. Every time we do, they capitalize on it. We can try to focus more but I don’t think that’s necessarily the issue, the focus. I don’t know. It’s just things aren’t going well.”
The Sox (6-14) have lost five straight and 10 of the last 13. For the first time since 1930, they have allowed eight or more runs in five consecutive games. That ties a franchise record.
It was suggested to Roenicke that such pitching is embarrassing.
“I’m certainly not going to go there,” he said. “But, yeah, we need to pitch better. But some of it is we’re not making plays when we need to make plays.”
Embarrassing fits. Sox pitchers have given up an astonishing 45 earned runs on 73 hits and 26 walks over the last 44 innings. Their ERA has climbed from 4.74 to 5.86.
With the season now a third over, the Sox are 7½ games out of first place and have the worst record in the American League.
“I think everybody can be better,” said Alex Verdugo, whose home run off Gerrit Cole was a bauble in the trash heap. “We all could be better as a team. It’s not just from the pitching standpoint. From all aspects we have to sharpen it up.”
Tauchman was 3 for 5 with four RBIs. Torres was 4 for 4 and drove in two. The Yankees collected 14 hits and that was with Aaron Judge going on the injured list earlier in the day.
Colten Brewer made his first career start and apparently it won’t be his last as the Sox left him on the mound for 2⅔ innings and 73 pitches, 21 more than his previous career high. Brewer, predictably, held the Yankees down for two innings then tired in the third.
Luke Voit singled and Aaron Hicks walked to start the inning. They scored on a double to right field by Torres.
Austin Brice struck out three of the five batters he faced to hold the Yankees at two runs. The righthander is averaging a healthy 13.1 strikeouts per nine innings this season.
Brasier came on and the Yankees took control of the game. It got worse in the seventh inning when Dylan Covey gave up three runs on four hits, two on a double by Clint Frazier.
Covey was the pitcher the Red Sox acquired from the Rays in July for $1. He has given up five earned runs over 6⅓ innings.
Cole didn’t have much trouble with the Sox. The righthander allowed one run on four hits and struck out eight without a walk over seven innings.
Cole faced nine hitters over the first three innings. Kevin Pillar reached on a single but was thrown out trying to steal second.
Verdugo lofted a curveball into the second deck in right field leading off the fourth inning. It was his fourth home run.
“We knew today would be hard. We knew it would be challenging,” Verdugo said.
The Sox had a chance to take the lead in the fifth inning when Christian Vazquez singled and went to third on a two-out double by Jackie Bradley Jr.
But rookie second baseman Jonathan Arauz grounded to third. It was the first of seven batters in a row Cole retired to end his outing.
Cole, who has won 20 straight decisions dating to May 2019, is 4-0 with a 2.76 ERA in five starts.
The Sox are winless in four games against the first-place Yankees this season and have lost 12 of their last 13 games in the Bronx.
It’s not much of a rivalry these days. The Yankees have won 18 of the 23 games between the teams since the start of last season.