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Trevor Story isn’t coming back, so it’s time for the Red Sox to man up

Trevor Story isn’t coming back, so it’s time for Red Sox to make an appearance originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

Trevor Story is gone and the Red Sox have to accept it. They need to stop kicking rocks — not to mention ground balls — and get on with their season. It’s only the second week of April. It’s time to regroup.

That was certainly Alex Cora’s welcome message after a third straight demoralizing loss to the Orioles on Thursday, as the Red Sox once again dealt the defending division champions extra outs in a crushing 9-4 loss.

The Orioles technically had the upper hand in the 10th with a two-homer blitzkrieg against reliever Isaiah Campbell, but the game was truly lost in the eighth, when Pablo Reyes hit a routine grounder to third base and shortstop David Hamilton, who makes you hold your breath every time. he hits the ball and dances right past second base to nullify a double play.

After playing relatively clean baseball on the West Coast en route to a surprising 7-3 start, the Red Sox fell to the Orioles. With Story, their Gold Glove-caliber shortstop, sidelined for the season due to a broken bone in his shoulder, the defense collapsed. They made five mistakes against Baltimore and probably could have made at least as many mistakes.

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They seem to feel sorry for themselves instead of embracing the next man up mantra that allowed other teams to win without injured stars. You get three days to mourn. Now it’s time to produce.

Cora didn’t dance around the subject after the match.

“We need to turn the page with Trevor,” he said. “He’s not going to be here. That’s what it comes down to, and we’ve got to step up. Whoever plays, they’re capable. They showed it in camp. We’ve played clean baseball. And now, obviously , the lights and the The third deck comes into play and every play is important. Every inning is important and we just have to slow the game down and make plays.”

“We need to turn the page with Trevor.” It sounds harsh, just two days after Story broke down in his locker at the end of another season. But it is necessary. There are still parts of the roster that are producing, most notably a starting rotation with a 1.45 ERA through 13 starts, which are unexpectedly Maddux-Glavine-Smoltz stuff.

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Even if that’s clearly unsustainable, it still points to more talent in the rotation than we thought, and if there’s one thing that killed last year’s team, it wasn’t sloppy offense or even atrocious defense (though that didn’t help). It was a decimated starting staff that contributed the fourth fewest innings in baseball. Give that team a starter like Jordan Montgomery at the trade deadline, and despite the Kiké Hernández-ness of it all, we might still be talking about playoffs.

So don’t tell me the season is over just because Story is gone. It’s a devastating blow, and he was perhaps the player they could least afford to lose, but there are still 149 games to go. There is time for the Red Sox to find their way and not settle for another last-place finish.

The first order of business will be fixing the shortstop, and even if they haven’t been inclined to make the move so far, how much more of Hamilton do we have to keep an eye on before the organization comes up with the idea of ​​moving electric midfielder Ceddanne Rafaela to to move his other team. above average defensive position?

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Baseball officiant Craig Breslow hinted at a disagreement with Cora on the matter a few days ago after announcing Story’s upcoming surgery.

“Alex and I are having these conversations,” he said. “They’re ongoing. We know how (Rafaela) can impact the defensive side of the game at multiple positions. I think he’ll get reps at second base. He’ll get reps at shortstop. But it’s real difficult to eliminate him from midfield.”

That’s where the emphasis on long-term thinking could hurt this year’s team again. If all you care about is the future, then Rafaela should stay in the center, which is clearly his best position. But he might be your best short-term option in the position the team needs most, and there’s still too much of this season left to prioritize next season.

So it’s time for the Red Sox to stop playing like they’re doomed because they lost their starting shortstop and for someone to step up so that 2024 doesn’t end in the second week of April.

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