Boston’s Trevor Story walks to the dugout after being called out on strikes during Saturday’s game against the Chicago White Sox at Fenway Park. Michael Dwyer/Associated Press

The bad news came in waves at Fenway Park this weekend.

It began on the field, where the Red Sox lost five straight and had virtually no offense over the weekend against the Chicago White Sox. Boston has scored just five runs in the last four games and are 10 1/2 games out of first place in the American League East.

It has been one excruciating loss after another. On Sunday the Red Sox had the tying run on second with one out in the ninth but couldn’t get the run in. That came a day after the Sox had runners on second and third with one out in a ninth-inning tie, but couldn’t get that run home either. The Sox lost in the 10th.

That loss dropped them to 0-6 in extra innings this season, by far the worst record in baseball. To make matters worse, they led in the eighth inning or later in all six of those games.

You can blame the bullpen, which was unable to hold any of those leads. But it’s the lack of offense that has put all the pressure on that group. The Red Sox have been ice cold at the plate since the start of the season. They’re hitting just .167 in late-and-close situations, with an equally dismal .239 slugging percentage. It is the lowest in the American League.

It’s a huge part of the reason the Red Sox are 3-7 in one-run games this season.


That lack of offense has led to a lack of belief in Boston’s ability to come back when they are down. They’ve lost all 11 games in which they’ve trailed after the sixth inning. When the Sox trail by a run it feels like they are facing insurmountable odds.

The news wasn’t much better off the field. Rich Hill and Kiké Hernández were added to the COVID-19 list on Friday (Hernández returned a day later but Hill remained out on Monday). Saturday brought the news that Chris Sale and James Paxton both suffered setbacks in their rehab from injuries. Sale has been pushed back several weeks and Paxton’s throwing program has been temporarily shut down.

On Sunday it was Michael Wacha, Boston’s best starting pitcher this season, who was dealt a medical setback. He missed his scheduled start and was added to the 15-day injured list with an irritation of his left intercostal nerves. Wacha was hoping it would be short term, but the team is being cautious.

That was a blow to a starting rotation that has been one of the best in the AL. That’s what makes the lack of offense so hard to take. Red Sox starters have given their team a chance to win nearly every night. They could sue for lack of support.

Newcomer Trevor Story has been at the brunt of the fans’ ire. He struck out three times on Sunday, and is hitting just .194 and has struck out in more than a third of his at bats. His bat hasn’t made much of an impact in the first month of the season. And he’s not alone.

“We’ve dug ourselves a hole, there’s no question,” Red Sox Chief Baseball Officer Chaim Bloom said on Saturday. “We haven’t played well. Panic isn’t going to help. We have to play better. We put ourselves in this situation, but if we’re going to get out of it, we’re going to get out of it by doing those things that we know we can do well. There’s a difference between urgency and panic, and I think we certainly need to show more urgency than we hoped we would be feeling at this point in the season.”


The Red Sox dreadful first month has been overshadowed by the playoff runs of the Bruins and Celtics. While the Sox were quietly going down in a Mother’s Day morning start at Fenway, the Bruins were putting on a scintillating performance to even up their series with the Hurricanes. They did it without their top two defenseman, Hampus Lindholm out with an injury and Charlie McAvoy in COVID-19 protocol.

Yet they found a way to win, with a bloodied Patrice Bergeron leading the way. It was an inspirational effort by one of the most overlooked superstars in Boston sports history.

The Red Sox open a trip Tuesday night in Atlanta, where the Braves could serve as a little inspiration. Last year the Braves had a brutal start to the season, never getting above .500 until August. They went on to win the 2021 World Series.

The Red Sox know it’s still very early in the 2022 season. They also know they need to start hitting before it gets too late to turn things around.

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

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