Boston Red Sox

Drellich: Why can't the Red Sox admit mistakes?

Drellich: Why can't the Red Sox admit mistakes?

NEW YORK — The trouble the Red Sox have publicly acknowledging reality this season is baffling, in part because their hooey is so pervasive.

Bad base running. Plane confrontations. Beanball wars. 

They don’t always say “It’s not me, it’s them,” but there are too many “It’s not me” moments.

Look, the Sox can pretend their mistakes aren’t mistakes all they want as long as they end up on top of the division at the end of the regular season. But in the meantime, the team wide posturing tied to most everything questionable makes it harder to take them at their word.

If they don’t own up to obvious truths consistently, why believe what they say otherwise?

Here's one: The Red Sox are making too many outs on the bases. They entered Friday with 14 more than any other team, per Baseball-Reference.com. They had the fourth-best extra-base taken percentage, at 44 percent — but that’s still five percentage points off the leader, Torey Lovullo's Diamondbacks.

Eduardo Nunez made a mistake in Friday’s stinging 5-4 loss to the Yankees. He shouldn’t have run on Aaron Hicks’ cannon while Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman was on the ropes, making the second out of the ninth inning at third base. 

Why couldn’t anyone simply call it that: a mistake?

You can be aggressive, as the Red Sox are, and make a mistake. Many mistakes. Too many.

“We have talked with our guys routinely and prior to every series in our advance meetings we talk about opportunities to look for, to take advantage of the running speed that we do have,” manager John Farrell said. “But I do believe there’s a means to an end with this. And while the outs are going to be glaring, I still feel like when we can put pressure on the defense, we’re going to look to set that tone.”

And at a certain point, Farrell sounds tone deaf.

No one is decrying the benefits of aggressiveness as a general philosophy, or suggesting it hasn’t paid off at moments. But the Red Sox are about to blow past their number of outs made on the bases last season with 47 games to go. One more ties last year’s mark of 65.

You can make tremendous contributions since joining the team, as Nunez has, and slip up. No player’s been praised more, nor deserved more praise, than the Godsend for a lineup that needed a lift in a big way.

“If it happened tomorrow, I would take the chance tomorrow again,” Nunez said. “That’s how we play the game. That was a great throw, that was a great pick for Frazier, and an amazing tag. Have to give the credit to them.”

Does Nunez really believe that? Is someone going to tell him on Saturday that he should not make the same attempt again, if given a chance? Doesn’t sound like it.

“That [choice is] on the runner right there,” Farrell said. “He’s not going to have time to look and see if [third-base coach Brian Butterfield] is giving him the go-ahead, that’s something that’s prepared for, that’s something that’s discussed prior to, because in the moment, that’s a split-second decision.”

It’s not an easy decision for any runner. Farrell always errs on the side of protecting his people. But he’s going overboard. As his base runners have, as David Price did on that plane.

It’s OK for people to admit fault. The manager, the players, whoever. Accountability may be a two-way street, but the Red Sox don't know where it is.

Jackie Bradley Jr. to get MRI after hurting thumb on slide

Jackie Bradley Jr. to get MRI after hurting thumb on slide

CLEVELAND — Jackie Bradley Jr. will head back to Boston on Wednesday morning for an MRI after he hurt his left thumb sliding into home plate in Tuesday’s 9-1 win over the Indians. X-Rays taken after Bradley was removed from the game at Progressive Field were negative.

Bradley was racing home in the seventh inning and went into a feet-first slide angled to the outside of the plate when he hit his hand awkwardly on the ground. Catcher Yan Gomes didn’t get the tag down in time.

“I’m not worried about it, no,” said Bradley, who will return to Cleveland later Wednesday, but is not expected to play right away. “Right now, it feels alright. I guess, as good it can be kind of after the injury. But, I feel like I’ll be alright.”

Bradley, who earlier in the game hit his 14th home run of the season, decided to change his slide at the last minute.

“As I was coming around third, a few steps before home plate I wanted to slide headfirst because I could control it,” Bradley said. “I wasn’t going to slide anywhere near him. I was going to slide headfirst and just have my hand just kind of reach around. But as I was approaching I kind of could see him gather it. He started coming to kind of block off the plate, so I kind of had to redirect my slide. 

“I actually slid feet first, but I also slid to the outside part of the plate, tried to avoid the tag and then slapped my hand at the back of the plate. And as I slapped the back of the plate, his glove kind of got me in the forearm, and my thumb got caught with the ground and kind of bent in all directions I guess.”

Sox manager John Farrell wasn’t pleased with the lane Gomes allowed Bradley.

But it’s hard to see what Gomes did wrong, by the rules, which state “it shall not be considered a violation of [the rule] if the catcher blocks the pathway of the runner in a legitimate attempt to field the throw.”

Gomes didn’t end up fully blocking the base line and he made what looked like a normal effort to get the ball where it was thrown. 

The initial safe call was challenged by the Indians and was upheld. Farrell was going to ask the umpires to look at a different aspect had the call been overturned

“He’s got to give a lane, didn’t feel like there was a lane being given at all,” Farrell said. “He had to reach back and unfortunately it puts him in a position where the thumb is exposed.”

Can't rush Carson

Carson Smith isn’t going to be rushed back because of Matt Barnes’ trip to the disabled list. Smith may pitch with just one day of rest in between Triple-A Pawtucket rehab outings this week, but he’s not in a position to race back after so much time missed.

Mookie Betts on his friend Isaiah Thomas: 'He lays it out on the line every day'

Mookie Betts on his friend Isaiah Thomas: 'He lays it out on the line every day'

CLEVELAND — Mookie Betts was taken aback like everyone else when he saw the Celtics landed Kyrie Irving.

“Before the game, we were playing video games, kind of saw it go across the screen,” Betts said. “It was kind of shocking. I didn't think it was going to happen.”

The trade takes one of Betts’ friends out of Boston. He’s gotten to know Isiah Thomas a little bit. They had not spoken as of Tuesday night, but Betts said he expects to see at least a couple of Thomas' games this season.

“Everybody talks about his size and that type of thing, just his heart,” Betts said. “That's the main thing you see, the things that he went through this year as far as his family, he lost a tooth and all of those type of things. He lays it out on the line every day he goes, and he wants to be the best player in the gym and he shows it. That's what you'll miss as far as a big star leaving.”

They’re not best friends, but had gotten to know each other a little.

“When I talked to him, I got a chance to pick his brain and use it for myself,” Betts said.

As for how Irving will do in his new digs?

“I think he'll be fine, especially with Brad Stevens,” Betts said.

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