Fresh off a successful road trip, the Red Sox ran back into an ugly reality Tuesday: their season-long inability to win at home.
Alone among the American League playoff contenders (and pretenders), the Red Sox can't seem to take care of business in their own ballpark. The Yankees, Rays, Twins, Indians, Astros and A's are all well-above .500 at home, with the Yankees and Astros already having won better than 50 games with nearly four weeks still to go in the regular season.
The Red Sox? Their 6-5 loss to the Minnesota Twins Tuesday dropped them to 34-35 for the season at Fenway.
Hours before the game, Alex Cora was asked to explain why it was his team had struggled so much at home. Cora paused, as if this was the first time this season that he had given the matter any thought, which is surely not the case.
Eventually, he suggested that perhaps the problem lies with the team's inability to "keep the ball in the ballpark'' at home.
That sounded reasonable enough. After all, Fenway is an inviting hitting environment and it sure has felt that teams have taken some liberties as visiting teams.