The Red Sox roster has been decimated by COVID-19 issues and Kutter Crawford was called up to make an emergency start on Sunday. Michael Dwyer/Associated Press

The Red Sox have been on the move.

Over the past 10 days, the team has had to make transactions involving 27 different players. That’s more players than there are on a regular-season MLB roster. And the Sox needed every one of those moves to keep their playoff hopes alive.

Actually, they needed every one of those moves just to be able to field a team and play their games. The Sox have been ravaged at an unprecedented rate by COVID-19. Eleven Red Sox players were placed on the COVID-related injured list since the team’s outbreak began Aug. 26.

Since then it’s been the Boston WooSox trying to stay afloat in the playoff race. Somehow they have maintained their hold on a wild-card spot and are still in a position to make the postseason.

There have been surprising stars popping up everywhere. Jarren Duran drove in the winning run of an improbable come-from-behind victory in Tampa Bay, with Jonathan Araúz and Jack Lopez turning three double plays behind Chris Sale. On Monday, Taylor Motter’s RBI double gave the Sox their first lead of the game. A week ago, Motter was looking for work after being released by Colorado.

If that were the extent of the story, this would be one of the most improbable rags-to-riches stories in Boston history. But not every story has been a Cinderella tale. Motter’s throwing error was part of a disastrous play Monday afternoon, a fiasco that began with Alex Verdugo misplaying a Nelson Cruz fly ball and ended with Motter throwing the ball out of play as four runs scored. The Red Sox made four errors Monday and lost to Tampa Bay 11-10 in 10 innings, despite leading 7-1 after two innings with Chris Sale on the mound.

This came a day after Kutter Crawford made his big league debut just hours after Nick Pivetta tested positive for COVID-19. Two innings later he was gone after giving up five runs to the Indians. The Sox battled back to cut the lead to one after eight, only to watch the recently recalled Phillips Valdez give up five more runs in the ninth.

Despite that loss the Sox took two of three from Cleveland, winning their fifth straight series. In that stretch they have posted a better record than the Yankees or A’s, the teams they were battling with for the wild card. The Yankees have lost three straight after being blown out Monday by the Blue Jays.

That’s the good news. The bad news is Seattle and Toronto have crept back into the race, creating a five-team logjam that will lead to a lot of scoreboard watching in the days ahead.

The Sox will be tested in the weeks to come. After this series with the first-place Rays they will travel to Chicago to face the first-place White Sox before heading to Seattle. It’s a nine-game stretch that will tell us a lot about where this team stands.

In the meantime, we’ll be keeping an eye on the transaction wire to figure out who will be wearing a Red Sox uniform for those games. Several players currently on the COVID-related IL were back at Fenway on Monday and could be back in uniform soon.

There are still Red Sox players quarantining in Cleveland, St. Petersburg, Florida, and Boston. Yet, through it all, the Sox have managed to stay in the playoff chase. Fans have been talking about this season’s imminent demise all year long, but this team has shown a resiliency and is still standing.

Tom Caron is a studio host for Red Sox broadcasts on NESN. His column runs on Tuesdays in the Portland Press Herald.


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