It’s a good thing no mechanical problems grounded the Red Sox plane yesterday afternoon because it’s scary to think what could have happened to the health of this team had it been forced to spend five more minutes in the Bay Area. Folks, when it rains, it pours and right now, the Red Sox are stuck in a friggin monsoon with nothing but a $5 umbrella and a tricked up hefty bag.
The Boston sickbay now includes Victor Martinez, who had a foul ball clip his left thumb yesterday and break the tip. Just a hunch, but it can’t be too pleasant to catch 98 miles fastballs with a broken finger. Now the word is the break isn’t too bad and it’s possible that Martinez will not have to hit the DL. Instead, it might be a deal where Martinez, with the help of a couple off-days this week, might only miss a few games. But worst case is Martinez will sidelined through the All-Star break and the Sox will have to play the next eleven games – including five with the Rays – with a whole lot of Bill Hall and Jason Varitek.
So here is the lineup on Tuesday: Scutaro, Nava, Ortiz, Youkilis, Drew, Beltre, Varitek, Cameron, Hall. Something similar will be out there again on Wednesday and if Martinez does in fact have to go on the DL, that is what the Sox will have to play with for the next eleven. That is not exactly the 2003 Red Sox. Making matters worse, the Sox don’t even have a healthy catcher in the system who can take Martinez spot. Mark Wagner would have been that guy but he has been out with a broken hand since April. Dusty Brown has a sprained thumb and it’s uncertain whether he can go just yet. And beyond that, the Sox have two “C minus” journeymen, a AA prospect who is at least a year away, and a Cuban who just signed a deal today. And for god’s sake, if Martinez can’t go, who in the hell is going to catch Wakefield on Friday? Billy Hall?
So Victor Martinez joins the ranks of wounded along with Josh Beckett, Jacoby Ellsbury, Jed Lowrie, Mike Cameron, Jeremy Hermida, and Dustin Pedroia. That is quite a roll call. Luckily, the Sox have three off-days and the all-star break to help them out but even an optimist would be hard-pressed to argue this team will do a whole lot of winning over the next two weeks. At this point, all a Red Sox can hope for is the swelling in Martinez’ thumb recedes, the club can take two or three from Tampa before the break, nobody else gets hurt, and reserves can be brought up on July 15th.
Other than the Martinez injury, yesterday was a pretty good day for the Red Sox. Jon Lester was great on a day that the bullpen really needed him to be his best. David Ortiz stroked one to break a little slump. And the Sox banged out eleven hits on a day that you figured they would be lucky to get half that many.
As such, the Sox wrapped up a 3-3 trip that should have been 5-1 and could have been 6-0. I can live with the opening night loss in Denver. But the Papelbon defeat last Wednesday and Friday night’s frustrating setback both should have been Ws. Throw in all the injuries, and this was not a very good week for the Sox. In fact, it might be the week that the Sox look back as the week that cost them a playoff spot.