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Alex Speier

For Red Sox, last place is humiliating reality

With a loss to the Astros, Hanley Ramirez and the Red Sox have a 42-52 record that is indeed the worst in the American League. AP

Tuesday represented a landmark of sorts: The day the Red Sox assumed status as the worst team in the American League.

With a loss to the Astros, the Red Sox have a 42-52 record that is indeed the worst in the junior circuit. It’s hard to fathom a rush to contention when a team literally would have to climb over every one of its competitors over the final two months of the season.

It’s a humiliating position for an organization that had become accustomed to perennial contention and World Series aspirations, the very real possibility of a third last-place finish in four years increasingly obscuring the extraordinary exception (the 2013 championship) to this stretch. Being a non-contender is a brutal reality for a team that stokes enormous expectations. Being the worst team out of 15 in the league is even harder to swallow.

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“Finishing last is even more unacceptable [than non-contention],” Red Sox (and Globe) owner John Henry said on Opening Day.

He also offered this observation at the time, noting his team’s radical on-the-fly reconstructions in the middle of the 2012 and 2014 teams.

“If you’re not going to win, you’ve got to blow things up,” he said.

The Red Sox aren’t going to win. What “blowing things up” might mean at this juncture remains to be seen, but there’s no sugarcoating the reality of a team that has spent most of this year looking out of sorts and multiple pieces away from better days.

Dan Shaughnessy wonders whether the rhetoric surrounding the team (particularly from the team’s chief decision-makers) will finally start matching its reality.

Nick Cafardo suggests that, if that doesn’t happen, the team risks alienating a hostile fan base. He says that the team needs to use this opportunity to repopulate its talent base in the upper levels of the minors.

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Alex Speier can be reached at alex.speier@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @alexspeier.