Tomase: Offense continues to let Red Sox down in key moments

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Of all the reasons we suspected the Red Sox might struggle, not being able to hit ranked pretty much at the bottom of the list.

And yet, as the season continued slipping away with a punchless 6-5 loss to the Blue Jays on Thursday night, the inability of the bats to convert in even the most basic situations defined the latest crushing defeat.

In both the eighth and ninth innings, the Red Sox advanced the go-ahead run to third with no outs. Both times they failed to score, blowing win probabilities of 82 and 93 percent, respectively.

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Pretty much anything would've gotten the run home in either case, but they followed Reese McGuire's leadoff triple in the eighth with two strikeouts and a groundout, and they blew a first-and-third in the ninth with yet another strikeout before Kiké Hernández hit the ball sharply to the one place he absolutely couldn't: Gold Glove third baseman Matt Chapman, who calmly stepped on the bag before rifling across the diamond.

The contrast couldn't have been more glaring in the 10th, when the Blue Jays pushed the go-ahead run across without the benefit of a hit, as Cavan Biggio scored on George Springer's infield chopper with a brilliant slide. The Red Sox then failed to even advance their ghost runner to third, going groundout, strikeout, pop out to end it.

If that feels like a theme, it is. The Red Sox were supposed to go as far as their offense would take them, and that is proving to be the case. It's just not nearly as far as anyone would've hoped.

Thursday marked a new low in inefficiency -- the Red Sox recorded 15 hits but went just 3 for 20 with runners in scoring position. This marks the second time in a week they've lost with that many hits; they lost to Baltimore last Friday despite a season-high 19 hits.

"Crazy stuff happens this time of year," said hitting coach Peter Fatse. "We're battling for wins. I don't want to say it's disbelief. I think it's one of those things where we have to continue to work in those situations to get pitches we want to hit. When we get those opportunities, we've got to put the ball in play and move the ball forward. It's something we've been talking about all year. It's something we've done poorly, we've done really well at times; we've got to keep it going and keep our foot on the gas."

For all we've hammered Chaim Bloom over the construction of the roster, if the big bats had just produced as expected, the Red Sox at the very least wouldn't be hopelessly out of contention. But the prime culprits have been stars Xander Bogaerts, Rafael Devers, and J.D. Martinez during this August swoon.

Though each recorded two hits on Thursday, they combined to go 0 for 3 with runners in scoring position, including Devers' groundout with two outs in the eighth and McGuire still standing on third.

Since Aug. 1, Devers is hitting just .202 and Bogaerts and Martinez are at .219 apiece. They have combined for just five home runs this month, including none by Martinez. Bogaerts only has 10 home runs all year, one fewer than he hit in the Covid-shortened 2020 season. Martinez is at nine, which would be his lowest total in a full season since 2013.

If those three aren't carrying the offense, then the Red Sox are toast. They're instead relying on Christian Arroyo, Rob Refsnyder, and McGuire to play over their heads. Those guys are pistons, not engines, but they're being asked to power the offense.

With their playoff odds officially below one percent, per baseball-reference, the season is over. There will be a lot of blame to assign after Game 162, and the offense is due to receive its share.

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