Extra Bases

Down Three Runs, Why Were the Red Sox Bunting?

Down three runs to the Blue Jays and with the tying run at the plate twice, John Farrell decided to sacrifice bunt both times, with each failing to help get the Red Sox back in the game.Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

One of the more frustrating parts of the Red Sox' five-game losing streak has been their inability to score with runners on base, something they seemed to do nothing but in their World Series-winning 2013 campaign.

In Tuesday's 7-4 loss to the Blue Jays which upped their longest losing streak since 2012 to five games, the Red Sox found themselves down five runs in the bottom of the sixth, but Jonny Gomes hit a two run homer that cut the deficit to three. Xander Bogaerts and Brock Holt then singled to get two runners on with no outs and the tying run at the plate.

Then, for reasons unknown to most, the Red Sox decided to have David Ross try and bunt the runners along. He promptly popped out to the third baseman, and Jackie Bradley Jr. and Dustin Pedroia went silently to kill the rally that looked so promising only minutes earlier.

Continue Reading Below

Just two innings later, in the eight still trailing by three, Gomes led off the inning with a single and Bogaerts walked, once again bringing the tying run to the plate in Holt, who had two hits on the day. Again, the Red Sox strangely sacrifice bunted, this time with Holt getting it down, but the result was the same, as the next two batters also harmlessly retired themselves to silence another no-out-rally.

"Despite Brock having good at bats tonight, I felt like that's what the situation called for," John Farrell said after the game. "I didn't want to turn a three-run deficit over to [Blue Jays closer Casey] Janssen.

"Any way we could to try and chip away and cut into some runs, they've been a premium to come by, and [we were] looking for anything we can to scratch out a run? It's first and second [with] nobody out in both [bunting] situations."

The problem isn't so much that they bunted, every team should know how to put one down when needed in a close game, but it's the timing of it, as this wasn't a close game. In both instances, it was late in the game and the team was down three runs, not one, meaning they couldn't afford to trade an out for advancing the runners in either spot.

The Red Sox may have needed to prove that they could lay one down when needed, something they failed to do in Friday's 1-0 loss to the Tigers, a game where a sacrifice bunt could have made the difference late. But it is going to take more than some small ball to fix what has become a problem for the Red Sox in not being able to drive runners in when they get the opportunity.