Given the Red Sox Jekyll & Hyde routine thus far in the month of May, you just had to wonder how they would respond a day after Jon Lester’s near perfect gem Friday night against the Toronto Blue Jays.
The answer is troubling. Despite a stellar eight-inning effort by Clay Buchholz (any start that goes eight innings with two runs or less in this day and age must be considered stellar). Boston squandered, wasted and pilfered away numerous opportunities to stab the Blue Jays in the eye with a sharp stick—and they did it both offensively and at the plate.
After rallying to tie the game in the 8th (and if they possessed killer instinct the 8th should have produced more than 2 runs), the Bullpen Blues took little time to settle over a cloudy and cool Fenway. Come the 8th and 9th innings this year, manager John Farrell should be signaling for Bailey and Hanrahan. Oft-injured Bailey is on the DL with and undetermined date of return and word comes today that Hanrahan is lost for the season. Thank you front office for signing such candy-assed and tenderfoot relief pitchers over the past two seasons. My Little League team from the late 70s in Central Florida had more grit than these modern day athletes. Instead of Bailey and Hanrahan, Farrell was forced to go with guys more accustomed to the 6th and 7th inning appearances. Poof—–Junichi Tazawa promptly gives up the lead in a game we struggled mightily just to tie, and we look impotent in the 9th to close out a 3-2 loss.
Did I mention my Little League teams in the late 70s in Central Florida? Even those kids could move a runner over and get a runner in when leading off with a 9ths inning double. Instead, we come up empty. And this has been the case far too often since those glorious memories of the month of April gave way to the reality and injuries of May.
You could fill up a Dempsty Dumpster with runners LOB and lack of hitting with RISP for the past 10 days on behalf of the Red Sox. It’s one thing to rely on outstanding starting pitching to keep you ahead of the pack in the A.L. East. It’s another to fail to support that pitching with even an average offensive output.
Here is what is becoming evident with the Red Sox batting order. Papi has cooled off; Napoli has traded April RBI for May strike outs.; Middlebrooks and Gomes are barely hitting above the Mendoza line. And we just can’t seem to put teams away when the opportunities present themselves.
That does not bode well for the remainder of the month or the season. But hey, this is the A.L. East and at 8 games above .500, that may be good enough, or not much more, to win the division this year.
All things considered, outside of a bad start or two, and some fielding errors on the mound, Ryan Dempster and John Lackey have both pitched better that their W/L record indicate. Doubront is regressing and needs to get his head out of his ass and finish off hitters. And this lineup needs to get back to basics: advancing runners, moving runners, sacrificing runners and giving our starting pitching staff a bit more offensive support because what was the strength of the pre-season and early season (our bullpen) and quickly become our most glaring weakness.
The Red Sox thus far are playing like that little girl with the curl from our kindergarten nursery rhymes. When they are good they are very, very good. When they are bad, they are horrid.
- Bailey, Hanrahan out; Tazawa Red Sox closer (espn.go.com)
- Red Sox put closer Hanrahan on 60-day DL (espn.go.com)