That wheezing sound you hear is the last bit of air being exhaled by the 2010 Boston Red Sox. The patient may still be breathing on its own but the time for the ventilator is just around the corner.
Listen, there is always hope. And the bull case was the Sox win last night, win again tonight and then go down to New York this weekend and taken three of four. Voila! They are right back in the mix. Sorry, it isn’t going to happen. Rather than bouncing, this team looks like it has finally broken down. They didn’t play particularly well against soft competition out West, they needed some ninth inning magic to come back against a woeful Tiger club this weekend and now they have lost two of three to a terrible bunch of kids from Cleveland.
In a nutshell, last night may have been the worst game the Sox played all season. All facets were affected: bad starting pitching, shaky defense, a leaky bullpen, and a new wave of situational failings. Throw in some incomprehensible managing and the Sox earned an “A” for futility. And with four coming up against New York, it’s starting to feel a lot like 2006 when the Sox came into a five-game series with the Yankees playing their worst baseball of the year. I think we all know how that series turned out.
Points of Interest:
Is it possible that Michael Saunders wrecked Boston’s ace? I ask that because ever since Eric Patterson dropped that ball in Seattle and Saunders followed by taking Lester deep, Boston’s big lefty has been molested, and by bad teams. Or maybe his funk is due to Hudson …. The lefty’s new son who was delivered in between Friday night’s stinker and last night’s gag job. Whatever the reason, Jon Lester has not been good of late and by late, I mean since the all-star game. The numbers don’t lie … since the break, he is 0-4 with an un-Lester like ERA of 4.39. And guys are hitting .292 off him which is about 100 points higher than Lester’s league-leading BAA in early July. He’s still getting strikeouts but he is just giving up much harder contact than we are accustomed to seeing. Last night was no exception and just to add insult to injury, much of the damage came from guys who really aren’t major league baseball players.
* Basically, it boils down to this …. Justin Masterson can’t pitch against anyone but his former team. Here are the numbers: Against the rest of the league, Masterson has an ERA of 5.98. And over fourteen innings against the Sox, his ERA is 0.48. Go ahead and try explaining that one.
* Runner on third with one out in the second and guess what …. Nada. Leadoff double from Cash in the third and ….. nada. First and second with one out in the fourth ….. nada. Are you still having trouble figuring out why Tim Bogar is so aggressive? With situational hitting this bad, he has no choice but to send runners when he has the chance.
* What in the hell was Ellsbury doing sacrificing with a runner at second and no outs in the THIRD INNING? He’s dumb and brittle? I pray to god that one didn’t come from the bench because it’s one thing for a player to have a momentary lapse in judgment and another thing entirely for a manager to screw something up so royally.
* That said, I am losing confidence in Francona by the second. Does he realize that Kalish was 21-54 against lefties while in Pawtucket? I realize that is a small sample but that doesn’t happen by accident. He might be the only lefty in the organization who rakes lefties. So why in the world was he lifted against a lefty for Bill Hall, who then got paired up with a side-arming righty? It is almost as if Francona hasn’t read the scouting report on his own player.
FARM REPORT: Anthony Rizzo was the big name again as he followed up Tuesday’s four-hit effort with two bombs last night. With those two shots, Rizzo is inching up on a .500 slugging average and he got his AA OPS comfortably above .800. Again, this is a 20 yr kid who missed a year with cancer. And he is now tearing up the Eastern League. It often takes guys four and five years to achieve that kind of success and Rizzo is basically doing it in his second year of pro ball. His future looks awfully bright.