For some Red Sox players, the most pressing thing about today’s 4-3 loss to the Rangers had little to do with the standings. There are 45 games left in the season. That should be enough time to make up half a game in the wild card standings.
The more troubling aspect involved geography. For the second consecutive season, winning on the road has been a primary issue for the Red Sox. They fell to 28-33 away from home, the 14th best road record in the major leagues, compared to 38-18 at Fenway Park.
“I’ve said it the whole time,” Jason Bay said. “We’ve played well at home. But until we start playing a little better on the road, we aren’t going to be taken seriously.”
It is not new problem, and it is not a problem that is getting better. Since the All-Star break, the Sox are 5-13 on the road compared to 7-4 at home. Last season, the Sox went 39-42 on the road.
Manager Terry Francona acknowledged earlier this season it is something the Sox needed to solve. For a while, it seemed as though they had. On July 1, the Sox were 23-20 on the road, which was the fifth best road mark in baseball at the time.
Most of their offensive woes can be attributed to a lack of punch on the road. Fenway Park is a great hitters park, but the difference between their home and road totals seems to run deeper than the advantage of the park. The Sox have scored 5.66 runs per game at home, third best in the majors. They have scored 4.57 runs per game on the road, 13th best.
Only six teams in baseball history have won the World Series with a losing record on the road in the regular season. Last year’s winners, the Philadelphia Phillies, had the best road record in the majors. The very best teams win on the road. Right now, the Red Sox are not one of the very best teams.
“We haven’t played up to our capability, that’s for sure,” third baseman Mike Lowell said. “If today was the last game of the season, we’d all be crying right now. We have a chance to turn it around.
“We’re not going to trade nine guys, so we’re going to have to do it with the guys we have. And we’re capable of doing it.”