Are the Red Sox really the worst team in the MLS East?

Here’s a sobering question with long-term ramifications: Are the Red Sox the worst team in the MLS East?

The question’s timing is important, because once the cavalry came back in the form of Nathan Evaldi, Garrett Whitlock, and Trevor Storey — not to mention Michael Washa and Rich Hill — the answer would have been better with no.

But until then, the Red Sox risks losing possession of a wild card place, which could affect what baseball chief Chaim Bloom does on the MLB trade deadline. And in the bigger picture, today’s struggles could offer a glimpse into an unpleasant tomorrow, when the team faces a future without a mix of Xander Bogaerts, Rafael Devers, JD Martinez, Christian Vazquez and/or Eovaldi.

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In other words: If the margin of error is so thin that the Red Sox suddenly leads the rising Orioles by two games, how can we view them as realistic competitors?

“We’re not playing well in baseball right now,” Red Sox coach Alex Cora told reporters in Tampa on Wednesday after their third straight loss to the Rays. “It’s a lot of mistakes and it costs us games. We need to start playing baseball better if we want to be the team we envisioned in spring training.”

The Red Sox showed a real fight last weekend against the Yankees to save the split against the best team in baseball, but these two games are the oddities of a rotten month. The Red Sox dropped to 4-9 in July after Wednesday’s 4-1 loss, but the way they lose is more frustrating than the results alone.

On Wednesday, soccer player Rob Rifsneider slacked off after a shot to the right, struggled to find a cut man, then rushed indecisively toward Bogarts on a short stop. The ball bounced away, Tampa’s Josh Lowe didn’t stop, and Rice’s final run came all the way to score from the start in one. The word “unforgivable” comes to mind.

But there has been a lot of that over the past week. Earlier on Wednesday, Devers faced a terrible third-place exit on an unruly court that didn’t roll far enough from catcher Francisco Mejia. Devers was moving poorly while playing through back pain, but even at 100 percent it wasn’t worth the risk.

Prior to that, the Red Sox lost a match when Alex Verdugo allowed himself to be selected for third place after Franchy Cordero failed to throw a hit. That same night, a tie-and-win score was scored in the same play, which included throwing fouls by Redeemer Matt Strahm and Cordero.

“We had a great weekend, and I’m not going to attack them,” Cora told reporters, including MLB.com’s Ian Brown. “But you have to keep playing. Like I said, no one will feel sorry for your injuries or anything else. You have to come every day and we have been very easy lately and we have to improve.”

This leads us to division. The Red Sox has yet to win a series in AL East, dropping to 0-9-1 with a visit to New York looming this weekend before the All-Star break. They are 11-23 in the division and now have to deal with the Raging Orioles, who have won 10 consecutive times since they went out on consecutive nights to open the month in Minnesota.

Baltimore has lost no fewer than 108 games in each of the last three full seasons, but behind the unspoken bulls and two respectable junior players, O won in 15 of 20 to move a game of over 0.500. With one of the best farm systems in baseball, O’s can be deadline buyers and sellers with absolutely nothing to lose. It’s scary that they are no longer an automatic win.

The Yankees are undefeated, but they are going on a winning run of 114 and will definitely improve by the deadline. The Red Sox will be massive underdogs in the post-season series, even after showing they can make it to the Bullpen in New York.

The possibility of you being last in the All-Star break is a lot on the table, and if they keep playing like this, that’s where they belong.

John Tomasi on the Red Sox

This leaves Rays and Jays. Tampa has a slew of injuries as the Red Sox – superstar Wanderer Franco may miss the next two months after wrist surgery – and hasn’t missed a thing. Her ability to constantly find a way stands in stark contrast to last week’s faltering nature of Boston.

The Jays family could receive a boost after the dismissal of manager Charlie Montoyo, who oversaw an overall poor performance last year. The Jays were a team with 99 wins on paper, but a team with only 91 in reality, and they faltered again this season as overwhelming pre-season favorites. If Toronto plays to its capacity, there will only be two wild card decks to fight for.

So where does that leave the Red Sox? In the unenviable position of hoping that enough players will come back from injury to bring the team back to life. This isn’t a great place for dog days to be looming and baseball’s toughest teams ever to be.

The possibility of you being last in the All-Star break is a lot on the table, and if they keep playing like this, that’s where they belong.

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