Sunday, July 8, 2012
I've Got A Severe Case Of Red Sox Fatigue, Luckily The Only Cure For That Is The 2012 All-Star Break
The Red Sox (43-43, 22-24 home) fittingly closed out a wretched first half with another no-show loss to the Yankees (52-33, 27-17 away), 7-3 tonight at Fenway Park. They lost eight of their last 11 games.
New York won three out of four in the series to improve to 5-1 against Boston in 2012. Furthermore, the Yankees are 9.5 (!) games ahead of the Red Sox (tied with Toronto in last place) at the break.
Shitty starting pitching and rough first innings continued to go hand in hand for Red Sox pitchers against the Yankees. Jon Lester (5-6) allowed two runs in the first and eventually was pulled after 4.1 innings. He gave up five runs (four earned) on nine hits with six strikeouts and two walks. His numbers were pathetic: 101 pitches, only nine first pitch strikes to 25 batters and just six swinging strikes.
Unlike Lester, Ivan Nova (10-3) did what good pitchers tend to do: he found a rhythm after allowing some early runs. He went six innings, allowing two runs (one earned) on six hits with 10 strikeouts and two walks.
Derek Jeter led New York's 14-hit attack as the captain went 3-for-5 with a run. Andruw Jones was 2-for-3 with 3 RBIs including his fourth homer of the weekend, Nick Swisher had two hits including a double, two walks, a run and RBI, Mark Teixeira had two hits including a double with a run and RBI while Curtis Granderson added two hits and a run.
All you need to know about the Red Sox lineup is that Pedro Ciriaco (3 hits, 2 runs, walk, stolen base) and Nick Punto (2 hits, walk) combined for five of the team's seven hits. PS. Adrian Gonzalez left in the second after one at bat (ending his 18-game hit streak). Apparently, that warrior was suffering from the flu aka he wanted to catch an early flight back to San Diego (home). What a fraud, I hope he rightfully gets roasted this week on Toucher and Rich, Felger and Mazz and the Baseball Reporters on the Sports Hub.
New York went ahead 2-0 in their first at bat on Teixeira's RBI double and a run scored on Swisher's fielder's choice.
Jeter gifted a run to Cody Ross and the Red Sox in the first when he dropped a pop up. I'm sure the Cy Young voters weren't paying attention (they all go to bed at 9 p.m.) so no worries Derek, you've still got that useless award locked up this season.
Chris Stewart's sacrifice fly in the third put the Yankees up 3-1 but David Ortiz answered with an RBI double in the third.
Alex Rodriguez had an RBI triple in the fifth and Jones ended Lester's night and miserable first half with an RBI single.
Jones crushed a two-run homer (his 11th of the season) in the seventh off Scott Atchison.
Boston tried to rally in the ninth against Rafael Soriano in a non-save situation but all they could muster was an RBI double from Mike Aviles. Sounds about right. It was over in a quick four hours and two minutes.
I honestly can say that I've never looked forward to an All-Star break more in my lifetime. It doesn't get much better than four days without having to watch this team that is on the fast track to nowhere.
The painful truth is that when they return to action on Friday with three games in Tampa Bay, they won't play another team that is currently under .500 for the rest of July. They host the White Sox (4) and Blue Jays (3) before trips to Texas (3) and New York. The nightmare month ends with two against the Tigers.
So far they are 2-6 in July and with 18 games left, they are really going to struggle to win 10 this month. What that means is that they have to be bold at the July 31 MLB trade deadline: trade Josh Beckett, Gonzalez or Lester, it's the only way this team has any hope to find a spark this season. They need to deal away a big name to shake up the locker room. In 32 starts this season between Beckett and Lester, the Red Sox are 12-20, not exactly what you are looking for from your supposed ace and No. 2 in the rotation.
Otherwise, not doing anything major (what I expect) will result in a third straight year without playoff baseball in October and that's not nearly good enough. At some point, the Red Sox front office, management and players have to be accountable for this extended period (2+ years) of nothingness.
UPDATE 7/12: Some good Red Sox numbers for you on the last day of the All-Star break. Boston has lost six of its last seven games while Lester and Beckett have combined for nine wins in their 32 starts but the team is still only 2.5 games back in the new second Wild Card spot.
It's been 15 years since the Red Sox finished lower than third-place in the AL East. They have their fewest wins at the break since 2000. The good news: the last two times they failed to reach 50 wins at the break (2004 World Series, 2005 Wild Card) they reached the postseason anyway.