Kevin Pillar said the Red Sox held a group meeting recently to try to get things off their chest and start playing better. Boston has 16 loss, tied for most in Major League Baseball. Kathy Willens/Associated Press

It sounds like the Red Sox are in bad shape, mentally.

You can see it on the field, as Rafael Devers is alternating between making difficult plays and chucking the ball from third base with no rhythm or footwork or any resemblance of a professionally-trained defender.

J.D. Martinez is striking out without swinging at a single pitch, as he did against Adam Ottavino in a four-strikeout game on Friday night.

The Red Sox look bored. They look down. They look like they aren’t very happy to be on the field and they know they’re going to lose when the bus pulls into the stadium parking lot.

Sunday night, the Sox lost to the Yankees, 4-2, for their seventh straight defeat. They now have 16 losses, tied for most in MLB.

Kevin Pillar said they’ve been feeling sorry for themselves, occasionally unhappy with the new mandate to wear masks in the dugout and perhaps more worried about the season getting canceled than playing the games each day.

“As a group, we got together, we talked about some things,” Pillar said. “Really just trying to make the best of a kind of a unique situation with the season. I know things aren’t going well. We’ve still got a ton of games left. We’ve got to stop feeling sorry for ourselves.”

Pillar is a veteran in the league, but he’s brand new to the Red Sox after spending most of his career in Toronto. Even if it wasn’t his place to call the meeting, he felt comfortable talking about it.

“We’ve got good leaders on this team and they called for it,” he said. “We just talked about the things I mentioned – stop feeling sorry for ourselves, stop putting the added pressure on us as individuals, especially the guys who haven’t gotten off to a good start, thinking that there’s not enough time to turn the season around. You’re putting a lot of pressure on every single at-bat and you’re taking at-bats to the field.”

What else does this team need to stop doing?

“Not getting caught up in what’s happening across the league as far as COVID is concerned, if it’s going to get shut down, or when it’s going to shut down,” he said. “Just really coming to terms that we’ve done a tremendous job as an organization not having any positive tests (since play began). The season’s going to happen, whether we want it to happen or not. We’ve got 30-40 some odd games left, and a lot could change. It’s just about not taking some of these bad losses that we’ve had into the next day. And really, just start fresh.”

The 6-16 Red Sox have not always, but sometimes looked disinterested in being on the field. The lack of focus, the hanging of their heads, the pouting over calls, the complaining over not having access to in-game video – the warning signs are aplenty.

Still, the season isn’t over because all they need to do is win 25 to 28 games and they might sneak in the playoffs with a 16-team field. But because they keep sending out fringe big leaguers as their starting pitchers four times a week, it’s hard to shake the feeling like they know they’re going to lose.

And on top of that are the stresses of the coronavirus.

Pillar said the team meeting was necessary to get all the frustration out. The players met at an outdoor area of their New York hotel, “socially distanced, masked,” Pillar said, and tried to vent.

“It’s been extremely difficult to get on the same page with a lot of people,” he said. “Normally you would have your locker room dynamic… It’s been a challenge.”

Pillar said he’s tired of looking across the field and seeing opposing teams who are actually enjoying themselves.

“We got to witness a couple of teams that are obviously playing well and have beat us,” he said. “But you look across the dugout and the guys seem excited, they’re pumped up, they’re high fiving and they’re making it as normal as possible.

“I think that was the message we were trying to get across was, ‘let’s make this as normal as possible. Stop feeling bad for ourselves because we have to wear masks. These are just things that have to be done. It’s 2020, get over it, and let’s go out and play and try to have fun with it.'”

MLB recently asked all players to wear masks when they aren’t on the field.

“We’re required now, you ground out to first base or third base, you come off the field and moments after you catch your breath, you’re required to put a mask on,” Pillar said. “It’s not what we’re accustomed to doing and if you allow that sort of stuff to frustrate you even more, you’re kind of already behind the eight ball. Just not allowing this stuff to creep into our minds and upset us further.

Everyone is doing it. It’s just the way it is. We have to find ways to continue to make this feel like a normal and real baseball season.”

The Red Sox haven’t looked anything close to normal all season.

It sounds like Pillar is among those in the locker room who is trying to get them to wake up.

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