If you take a look back at the 2018 Red Sox regular season schedule, you'll see the defending champions were a model of consistency.
What a difference a year can make.
The 2019 Red Sox have had their moments, sure, but ultimately they haven't been able to gain any sort of traction. Just when they appear to be trending in the right direction, a couple of bad losses bring them right back down. Because of that inconsistency, Boston finds itself nine games back in the American League East and two games behind in the Wild Card race with two-and-a-half months of regular season baseball remaining.
In his pregame press conference on Tuesday, Red Sox manager Alex Cora described inconsistency as the team's primary issue up to this point.
"We've been consistent at being inconsistent," Cora said. "We see flashes of the team and then it doesn't happen for a few days. Obviously the fifth starter, we always talk about it, it put us in a bad spot as far as like the bullpen and the usage. A few times you feel limited with them."
The Red Sox addressed their need for a No. 5 starter on Saturday by acquiring veteran right-hander Andrew Cashner from the Orioles. Whether the move will have a positive ripple effect on the bullpen remains to be seen, but the organization further confronted its ongoing relief struggles Tuesday by optioning Ryan Brasier to Triple-A Pawtucket and promoting rookie southpaw Darwinzon Hernandez.
While strong performances from Cashner and Hernandez would help point this Red Sox team in the right direction, there are plenty of others who will have to step it up if Boston is to be in the mix for a playoff spot come October. With only 68 games left on the schedule, Cora knows now is the time to turn things around.
"We've gotta get better. We've gotta get better," he said. "It's July what? 15th? 16th? So, yeah. We better get better now."
The Red Sox have a chance to make up some ground in the standings over the next week as they'll wrap up a series vs. the lowly Blue Jays before heading to Baltimore to take on the cellar-dwelling Orioles.
Alex Cora on 'inconsistent' Red Sox: 'We better get better now' originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston