Red Sox

5 takeaways as sloppy Red Sox fall to Guardians after Josh Naylor’s late homer

"It’s been going on for a while here."

Red Sox Guardians
Red Sox relief pitcher Tanner Houck screamed into his glove after he gave up a solo home run to Cleveland's Josh Naylor. Jim Davis/Globe Staff

Red Sox manager Alex Cora sounded a little tired of using the same words over and over when he spoke to the media after Wednesday’s 7-6 loss to the Guardians — the latest in a series of frustrating, sloppy losses his squad has endured.

Still, even a frustrating baseball season is at least 162 games long, and sometimes you have to repeat yourself a little bit.

“We didn’t play good defense near the end,” Cora said wearily. “That’s the result. We gave the opposition more than 27 outs at this level, we paid the price…It’s been going on for a while here.”


The worst offender — although not the only one — was Franchy Cordero, whose struggles to learn how to play first base were costly on Wednesday. With the Red Sox leading 6-5 in the top of the eighth, Cordero fielded a bouncing ball and tossed an ill-advised and off-balance ball in John Schreiber’s vicinity that bounded away from the reliever. Guardians right fielder Nolan Jones was awarded an infield single, and he sprinted to second on the error. Two batters later, Myles Straw — the Guardians’ No. 9 hitter — drilled his second double of the game to drive Jones in.

“Those kind of plays that are in between are the toughest plays,” Cordero said postgame through a translator. “Just trying to learn from the mistakes and move on.”

Cordero made Red Sox history with his three errors at first, making him the first Red Sox first basemen since Mo Vaughn in 1993 to reach that number.

“He’s still learning the position,” Cora said. “He hasn’t played too much at first base. It’s been better than last year, but obviously there’s going to be plays that are the first time it’s happened or he’s going to rush to do it.


“It’s just tough. Regardless of how it goes or whatever, when you don’t play good defense, this is what happens.”

The sloppy baseball set the stage for Josh Naylor’s heroics in the ninth. With the game even at 6-6, Naylor blasted a 2-0 slider from Tanner Houck over the left-field wall to give the Guardians their decisive margin.

Other takeaways

2. The homer Houck gave up to Naylor was the first of the season he allowed on a slider, per Baseball Savant. Opponents have batted just .152 with an XBA of .202 when Houck throws his slider — which make up 40.6 percent of his pitches.

3. The Red Sox wasted Bobby Dalbec’s best day of the season. Dalbec homered twice — a pair of two-run blasts — and drove in a fifth run with a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the fourth.

Dalbec told reporters after the game that swinging smoothly has been crucial to his recent improvements, but he doesn’t believe getting more comfortable at third base has affected him at the plate.

As for his black eye? Fielding practice at first base.

“First one of the day got me,” the soft-spoken Dalbec said with a small smile.

4. In his second start since returning from back inflammation, Nathan Eovaldi had some early struggles — three runs in the second, two more in the fourth — but he said he grew stronger as the game went on. Just three of the five runs against him were earned.


“I felt like I was driving the ball a lot better,” Eovaldi said. “I felt as the game went on I got stronger. I felt like I was able to locate the pitches better and get quicker outs as the game went on, so that’s real encouraging for me.

“All the work we’ve been putting in, we’re getting back to where we need to be for sure.”

5. Chaim Bloom spoke to the media prior to the game and admitted that the standings — where the Red Sox have currently tumbled to the bottom — play a role in his decision-making with the trade deadline approaching.

“We’re not too happy with how it looks right now. We have to factor that in,” Bloom said. “Every game moves that needle one way or another. It doesn’t change how we feel about the talent on the club, but it does change our situation.

“Part of it is that we are in a really good division, but that’s no excuse. We have to be honest. If we don’t reverse that, we’re not going to get where we want to go.”

Bloom noted that Rafael Devers, Kiké Hernández, and Chris Sale are all out, while acknowledging that the Red Sox aren’t a perfect roster.

“Obviously, we haven’t played well lately,” Bloom said. “We’ve been banged up and we haven’t been playing well. I do think we have a good team. I think we have a very talented team.”


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