BOSTON — After three months of musical chairs in the No. 5 spot, the Red Sox thought they’d finally found some stability in acquiring Andrew Cashner, but the results have been more of the same.
Cashner was hit hard by the lowly Royals — they left the park three times against him — and Boston fell to a 40-win team, 6-2. The Sox are now 1-4 when their lone July acquisition takes the mound.
Here are five takes from a lifeless Fenway Park:
1. No Cash
Cashner hadn’t allowed a home run in any of his five outings before being dealt to the Red Sox.
In the five since? Cashner has allowed eight bombs — three multi-homer starts — and his ERA in a Boston uniform has ballooned to 7.53.
“I’ve just made too many mistakes and they’ve hammered them here when I’ve made them,” Cashner said. “But I’ve pitched up here for a long time. So I mean this has probably been one of the toughest stretches of my career. I’ve just gotta get back to what I do well.”
2. Offense does nothing
Xander Bogaerts was given the night off, so the rest of the Sox offense decided to follow suit.
They couldn’t do anything against Royals starter Jakon Junis, who entered the game at 6-10 with a 5.03 ERA. Junis held the best offense in baseball to one run in six innings of work, and they didn’t do much against the bullpen either, only adding one run. All told, they were 2 for 10 with runners in scoring position, stranding eight.
Bogaerts or no Bogaerts, the Sox should be teeing off on Kansas City.
3. Darwinzon looks nasty
Darwinzon Hernandez’s transition to the big league bullpen couldn’t have gone any better.
The 22-year-old flamethrower turned in another dominant inning, blowing the Royals away in the ninth and striking out the side. In nine innings out of the ‘pen, Hernandez has yet to allow an earned run, and has struck out 18.
The Sox could really have something here.
4. Nice night for JT, too
Josh Taylor also had a strong evening in relief of Cashner.
Taylor made quick work of the runner he inherited in the sixth, erasing him with a double-play ball, and then threw a scoreless seventh. Since July 1, the lefty’s ERA sits at 2.25.
5. Terrible 10-game stretch
Can you remember a more disappointing run than the one the Red Sox are on right now?
After being swept out of the AL East race by the Yankees and Rays, dropping a non-competitive game to the Royals is a new low-water mark. Kansas City had lost seven straight and they’ve clearly packed it in.
This is the soft spot in the schedule that the Red Sox absolutely need to capitalize on if they’re to have any prayer of playing in October. They’re now 1-9 in their last 10.
Chris Mason is a Red Sox beat writer for the Eagle-Tribune and CNHI Sports Boston. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, and follow him on Twitter at @ByChrisMason