If Bruins forward Nathan Horton hadn’t buried the Canadians a little after ten last night with a forty foot rifle-shot, I would have been stewing until one o’clock thinking about that disquieting Red Sox loss. Now it is too early to say that loss will definitely be one of the year’s ten worst but it’s not too early to say that it will be a nominee. So Nathan, thank you for the Ambien loaner.
Last night had plenty of elements that you’d normally associate with a brutal loss. First, Jacoby Ellsbury (and Dustin) misplays a can of corn that leads to a big Orioles inning. And four innings later, Bard came in and pulled the rug out from under a perfectly good four-run comeback. If that weren’t enough to get the blood boiling, the Sox had a runner thrown out at the plate, a run lost when Jeremy Guthrie found a 110 mile comebacker wedged into his glove and a final run lost when Kevin Youkilis was unable to get another man in from third with less than two out.
Add it all up and the Sox wasted a pretty good performance from Josh Beckett, a big moment from Youkilis, some life at the plate from Ellsbury and a clean inning from Wakefield. Add in multi-hit games from Ortiz and Gonzalez and the Sox should have been winners last night.
But Bard conspired against that plan and he is now on the hook for THREE losses in 27 days. I’ll give him a pass for opening day as he got a bit unlucky when David Murphy’s sliced four iron caught chalk, but he did the unthinkable in a April 7 loss at Cleveland (walking Adam Everett) and last night, he couldn’t control a slumping Markakis or get a slider past Derek Lee.
Now I am a big Bard guy and it should be noted that he has been GREAT since his hiccup in Cleveland. That said, if Jon Papelbon had blown his third game last night, there would be calls for his head today. I don’t want anyone’s head right now but Bard has to be better than this. Particularly when he isn’t called on to put out some ridiculous fire. I mean this is a guy who is budgeted for near perfection and with three losses already banked, Bard has already used up half of his chips.
Another guy burning chips quickly is Carl Crawford. Ok, the early struggles were cute at first. But this is starting to get ridiculous. On the bright side, he finally made a play last night that your everyday major leaguer probably wouldn’t have made. But this slump is metastasizing into something much worse than just a slow start.
I had a bad feeling about Monday’s game going in so I wasn’t sweating that loss. But last night bugged me and I would be pretty disappointed to see this club swept at Camden. Thankfully, it is Lester tonight and with May quickly approaching, that should mean good things.