'Right now, they're better than us': As Rays rock Red Sox, pressure mounts in Boston

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The 2019 Boston Red Sox made an admission this weekend: They're not as good as the Tampa Bay Rays -- at least not right now.

Boston squandered an opportunity to climb back up the American League East standings this past weekend, when Tampa Bay took three of four games, putting the Red Sox seven games behind the Rays and New York Yankees in the division race. The last time Boston won a series against a team with an above-.500 record was at the end of April, when the Red Sox swept the Rays at Tropicana Field. In this past series, Tampa Bay routinely displayed its dominance, outscoring Boston 21-9.

"Right now, they're better than us," Red Sox manager Alex Cora said. "We've gotta keep working. We've been saying all along, we've gotta be better with men in scoring position, executing out of the bullpen. Everything."nike nfl jerseys cheap paypal

Seeing Boston squander opportunities to score with men on base has become routine. In his postgame news conference Sunday, Cora highlighted one such instance from the first inning, when the Red Sox had outfielder Mookie Betts on third base and Christian Vazquez on second with no outs following a single, a walk and a wild pitch from Rays lefty Blake Snell.

Boston followed with three straight strikeouts from Xander Bogaerts, Michael Chavis and Eduardo Nunez.4

The Red Sox have looked overmatched against Rays pitching before. Tampa Bay starter Yonny Chirinos retired the first 15 Red Sox hitters in order Friday, allowing just two hits in eight shutout innings. That wasn't a fluke, either: The Rays rank first in baseball with a 2.96 team ERA.

"S---, give them credit," Bogaerts told ESPN. "Their pitching was real good. S---, you've got Blake Snell on the mound, and he worked out of it with big pitches at big times. Last year, we capitalized a lot more on those opportunities, and it hasn't been there."cheap nike nfl jerseys china

Boston finds itself in a dramatically different position heading into this June 10 than last year's, when the team was tied for first place with the Yankees with a 44-21 record, 14 games ahead of the Rays. Boston finished the season with 108 wins, a franchise record for a season, before winning the World Series. On June 10 this year, the Red Sox find themselves looking up in the division -- way up.

There are caveats here. Slugger J.D. Martinez was out of the starting lineup Sunday for the fourth straight game due to back tightness, missing the entire Rays series. Boston was also without first baseman Mitch Moreland, who leads the team with 13 home runs. But Cora said the offensive consistency problems that have plagued the team all season continue to persist.

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