As spring training wound down and the regular season approached, Alex Cora was often asked about his goals for the 2021 Red Sox regular season.
Invariably, Cora would zero in on two aspects in which he sought improvement -- not just from last year, when Cora was exiled from the team, but also, from 2019, when the team faceplanted its attempted defense of a title.
Time and again, Cora would prioritize two things: to play better at home and to play better within the division.
So, naturally, the fact that the Red Sox were swept at Fenway by the heretofore lowly Baltimore Orioles, reflected a poor start in both categories.
Cora is currently 0-2.
Worse, his team is already 0-3.
Somewhere along the way, the Red Sox have evolved from terrors at home to just plain terrible. The team that won better than two-thirds of its home games in 2018 (57-24, .704 winning percentage) has now lost its way at Fenway. And the dominance wasn't just a one-year thing -- for a three-year period, beginning in 2016 and ending in 2018, the Red Sox racked up a .626 winning percentage at its own ballpark, tying the Yankees in that stretch for the best home winning percentage.
Starting in 2019, however, the Sox have played as though their own house was haunted. In 2019, when the team barely finished above .500 and dipped to third in the division, they were far better on the road than at home, where they finished 11 games over .500 only to post a losing mark at home (38-43).
Meanwhile, the less said about the 2020 edition, the better. But in the interest of full disclosure, the Sox were a putrid 11-20 last year for a paltry .355 winning percentage.
How the mighty have fallen, indeed.
And it would be one thing if the Sox had just been beaten up by the Yankees or Minnesota Twins or some other team headed for the postseason again. But no, these three losses -- each one, arguably, worse than the one before -- came at the hands of the Orioles, the same Orioles who are essentially on record as not even trying.
Not that it hurt them in the three-game series with the Sox, who, while they have scaled back their ambition for the immediate future, are on record as hoping to be competitive this season.
They sure didn't look it this weekend. In 27 innings, the Sox