Ok, even I didn’t anticipate the Red Sox playing this bad.
Coming off their ninth straight loss, the Red Sox are in last place in the AL East and second to last in the American League. Less than seven months after going from worst-to-first, following the collapse under Valentine with a World Series victory, the Red Sox have reversed course again — and not in a good way. They are a season-worst seven games under .500.
“It’s frustrating right now for a number of guys,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said after losing to Toronto 7-2 on Thursday to end the homestand without a win.
Even though we are not even half way done with the season and there is still time, the Red Sox have to get their act together.
“There’s plenty of time to turn it around,” catcher A.J. Pierzynski said. “We’ve just got to do it tomorrow. We can’t waste any more time.”
The Red Sox however are taking steps to improve.
The signing of shortstop Stephen Drew to a one-year deal Wednesday helps shore up the left side of the infield, at least while third baseman Will Middlebrooks is injured. Drew was the shortstop on the World Series champions, but he remained without a team after rejecting Boston’s $14.1 million qualifying offer over the off-season. At the very least, his signing is a signal that the team isn’t ready to concede its title defense and use the year to get young players like Xander Bogaerts and Jackie Bradley Jr. some experience. But Drew, who batted .253 with 13 homers and 67 RBIs last year, might not help much at the plate for a team that is hitting .245 for the season.
The Red Sox entered Friday 12th in the AL with 4.02 runs per game, and their .238 batting average with runners in scoring position is 13th out of 15 teams in the league. It’s pretty bad.
The most apparent problem has to be the Red Sox inability to close out games.
The starting rotation has a 7.23 ERA during the first seven-games of the skid, allowing a batting average of .354.
“It’s not fun going out there, giving up a bunch of hits, trying to stop a losing streak, trying to win, trying to just keep guys in the ballgame,” said Jon Lester, who gave up seven runs on Thursday to see his ERA balloon from 2.67 to 3.36.
Lester gave up two runs in the first on Thursday and five more during a second inning in which six of the first seven batters reached base.
Today’s game didn’t give Red Sox fans much hope either as it ended with a error by Red Sox pitcher Andrew Miller in the 15 inning.
The Red Sox jumped to a 5-o lead against the Tampa Bay Rays in the first inning with Mike Carp being hit by a pitch, forcing in the first run. Next came Jonny Gomes, who hit a sacrifice fly to left. To cap it all off, A.J. Pierzynski delivered with a three-run homer to right that gave Peavy a 5-0 lead. After that, it went down hill. The Rays slowly started to eat at the Red Sox lead and tied it up in the fifth with Guyer hitting a two-run, game-tying double in the fifth off Boston starter Jake Peavy.
This game ended in the 15th.
James Loney singled off Andrew Miller to start the 15th. Cole Figueroa pinch-ran for Loney and moved to second on Brandon Guyer‘s bunt single — his fourth hit. Desmond Jennings followed with two futile attempts to bunt before hitting one back through the middle.
Miller made the grab and threw to second looking to start a double play. But the left-hander’s throw sailed wide and low of the base, allowing Figueroa to race home with the winning run.
Andrew Miller after blowing the game in the 15th inning. (Credit: Kim Klement, USA TODAY Sports)
If they cannot get their pitching in order, I don’t see much hope for the Red Sox even though we have a lot more games to be played. Look for the Red Sox to switch things up soon. The World Series Champs are better than this and they know it!