Xander Bogaerts exits vs. Rays with optimistic COVID check

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NS. PETERSBURG – COVID-19 affected the Red Sox during a road trip that began in Cleveland before continuing on to St. Petersburg.

The hardest hit was in the middle of the 5-8 loss to the Rays on Tuesday night, when shortstop Xander Bogaerts was drawn on a positive test result to start the end of the second inning.

Bogaerts, the Red Sox’s longest-tenured player and widely regarded as a team leader, is the sixth Boston player to test positive for COVID-19 since Friday.

It was a quick turn of events for Bogaerts who got the Red Sox to the top with an RBI single on Tuesday night. He then took his position at the bottom of the first.

After that, his night was over.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, shortly after their de facto captain was eliminated, the Red Sox looked confused, allowing six runs in a sloppy bottom of the third. After that, they rallied and had the tie run with two outs in ninth.

“It’s tough, but you know what? I just told them we played until the end today. We provide [up] good bats. We were tied on the record, ”said Red Sox manager Alex Cora. “The pitching team did a good job after the bad inning. We were able to do a lot when pitching. We reset our bullpen. We played sloppy baseball for a while, but the effort was there until the end. “

It will be interesting to see how the Red Sox will weather the storm until they get their best all round player back. Players who test positive for COVID-19 must generally be quarantined for at least 10 days. The quarantine can be a little shorter for vaccinated players, although this was not a common practice. It is not known if Bogaerts is vaccinated.

“Bogey is such a constant presence,” said Kyle Schwarber, who completed his third home run since joining the Red Sox. “He’s the longest-serving guy here, right? He’s been here and has done several postseason pushes, several World Series championships. We will definitely miss his presence. We all have to rise [while he’s out] and all the boys that are down right now We have to do it. “

To put it mildly, it was a difficult five days for the Red Sox.

Before the start of the road trip on Friday, the Sox announced that the lead-off man Kiké Hernández, who had been hot for two months, had tested positive. On the same day, infielder Christian Arroyo was considered a close contact and tested positive on Sunday.

The timing of these two midfielders simultaneously trailing Bogaerts couldn’t be worse for Cora, who will be trying to figure out a way to put the winning lineups together. Shortstop and second base are both blatant holes at the moment.

“We have to go on,” said Cora. “As I said yesterday and I will keep saying it, they are not going to stop the tournament for the Red Sox, we know that. We have to find out, show up tomorrow, play good baseball, do it the next day, and then go home and see where we stand. “

As bumpy as things were on the medical front during their three-day stay in Cleveland last weekend, it has been worse since the Sox arrived at Tropicana Field for a four-game series that began Monday.

Lefty Reliever Josh Taylor was seen as a close contact mid-game on Monday, making him a seventh player – and fourth member of the Bullpen – who will be away from the team for the foreseeable future.

“I think the biggest concern is just the health of the individual,” said Schwarber. “This is not a joke, it is [something to] Take seriously. They just hope that it will be an easy case, that it will not be as difficult for them, and that they will recover quickly. The most important thing in everyone’s mind is the wellbeing of all guys.

“It’s the invisible enemy. It sucks. But we have to keep moving forward and do our best. We’re right in the middle of it and it’s the next man-up mentality right now. I just have to keep going. “

With 28 games remaining in the season, the Red Sox (75-59) hold second wildcard place in the American League with one game ahead of the A’s. The cadres are even in the loss column.

For the Red Sox, it will be about finding a way to stay in the race for the next seven to ten days until they have reinforcements on the squad again.

“It’s just about what we’re going to do in the coming days to slow that down, not just off the field but on the field as well,” said Cora. “How are we going to try to ‘attack’ that?”