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Alex Cora and Rafael Devers are disappointed with the Red Sox offense

Red Sox

The Red Sox rank in the bottom half of the majors in a few key offensive categories in May.

Rafael Devers is in the middle of a four-game home streak, but his struggles with runners in scoring position have continued. Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The Red Sox offense disappointed again Saturday, wasting another solid outing from their rotation in a 7-2 loss to the Cardinals.

In addition to only scoring two runs, Boston’s offense managed just two hits through the first seven innings. Somehow, the Red Sox managed to tie the game, 2-2, in the eighth inning when Jarren Duran scored from first on a Rob Refsnyder double.

It was ultimately to no avail, as Justin Slaten allowed four earned runs in the bottom of the inning.

While Slaten was responsible for the Red Sox loss, Alex Cora turned his attention to his team’s hitters after Saturday’s game.

“At the end of the day, we have to score runs,” the Red Sox manager told reporters. “We can’t play these games all the time, can we?” Close matches until the end. We put pressure on the bullpen. At some point, you have to start producing series.

Boston’s offense ranks middle of the pack in a few key areas this season, ranking 15th in batting average (.243) and 17th in runs per game (4.26). But he struggled in May, ranking just 25th in runs (53), 19th in batting average (.229) and tied for 26th in home runs (11).

Rafael Devers’ home run streak is responsible for four of those home runs. The star slugger homered in his fourth straight game Saturday – a 431-foot solo shot to center in the fourth inning – and his fifth of the month, bringing his total to eight this season.

But Boston lost every game during Devers’ home run streak, scoring just 16 total runs in his last four games. Devers was more focused on the final results than his personal accomplishments after Saturday’s loss.

“I feel good about the circuits, but at the same time we’re not winning, so it’s bittersweet,” Devers told reporters through team translator Carlos Villoria Benítez. “Swinging feels good, but if we don’t win, it’s no good.”

Although Devers has started to turn things around after an injury-plagued April, he is not playing to his full potential. He failed to capitalize on a golden opportunity in the first inning, striking out with runners in the corners following a Cardinals error.

The strikeout dropped Devers’ batting average with runners in scoring position to .182 (6-for-33) this season, exactly .100 points lower than his career average (.282).

“I have to make an adjustment,” Devers said of his struggles with runners in scoring position. “I like to hit with men in scoring position and I haven’t been successful in hitting with men in scoring position. Obviously, this frustrates me a little. But at the same time, I have to continue working.

Devers’ inability to seize the first inning opportunity and the Red Sox’s continued struggles at the plate meant that Kutter Crawford found himself in a familiar hole, spending his entire outing Saturday either pitching with a no-hitter or from behind.

Crawford pitched another strong performance, allowing just one run on six hits and five strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings. His ERA improved to 2.17, a top-10 mark in all of baseball. However, the Red Sox’s record with Crawford on the mound continues to trend in the wrong direction as they are just 3-7 in games he has started this season. They lost the last three games Crawford started and four of his last five starts.

Refsnyder, who hit a solid .308 with an .804 OPS in May, expressed disappointment that he and the rest of the hitters continued to let Crawford down.

“It’s a testament to our offense. We have to be better,” Refsnyder told reporters. “We put ourselves in good positions and the guys get on base.

“I don’t think there’s any excuse to mess up Kutter’s starts. He has a sub-2.50 ERA (ERA) all year. It’s all up to us. We just have to do better. All of our starters are doing great and it really sucks. We are trying hard and the results are not there. There is no one to blame but ourselves.

Cora continued to express similar thoughts when he listed some of the good at-bats the Red Sox had on Saturday, coming to an abrupt conclusion.

“We need more.”


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