Sox Streaking, Stinking, Sinking
Posted by athomeatfenway on September 20, 2011
Red Sox fans do not give up until our boys are mathematically eliminated. We give nothing. Anything can happen in baseball.
I hope it happens soon.
The tenants of the Tampa Ray bullpen strode slowly from the dugout, tall and lean, chatting and taking long, relaxed strides in the sunshine. Leading the parade were two rookies. One carried a pink parasol in one hand, a matching pink suitcase in the other. His colleague walked beside him, a girlish white boa adorning his neck.
It was a rookie hazing seen in progress. These are the loosey-goosey Joe Maddon Rays.
What else should we expect from a Manager who has Pajama Day and Letterman Sweater Day ? These are days in which the team dons the aforementioned thematic garb and poses for photos. Go google “Tampa Ray Pajama Day”. See what you get. These guys are having fun.
The Rays are the opposite of my Sox, who are playing tight, making errors, swinging and missing under the pressure of a September with a 4 W – 13 L record.
I had a great field box seat for the Sept. 18 game. It gave me a perfect view of Mike Aviles’ TWO errant throws from third base. I had a clear line of sight for the knuckler that bounced off Salty’s shinguard on an uncaught strike 3, allowing that run to reach 1st base. I saw to perfection Mr. Connor Jackson, who appears to be afraid of the Left Field wall, misplay a pop fly into a double. Four men reached base in these fielding misadventures. They all scored. The Red Sox lost by 3 runs. 8 to 5.
There are many reasons why the Red Sox have lost 13 of their last 17 games, blowing a 9 game Wild Card lead and a small lead atop the Division — since September 1.
There’s been an absence of hitting in critical situations. The middle relievers have performed poorly. Fielding is going down the chute.
But how about the most important performers of all, i.e., the Starting Pitchers ?
Here is how each starter has fared in the 17 game slide.
Josh Beckett: Made 2 starts. Sox won 1. 2 Quality Starts. 1.86 ERA. Give him a A+.
Jon Lester: Made 4 starts. Sox won 1. Made 3 Quality Starts. 3.52 ERA. His grade is a B+.
Erik Bedard: Made 1 start. Sox won it. Made 1 Quality Start. 4.50 ERA. Grade him a solid B.
John Lackey: Made 3 starts. Sox won 0. Made 0 Quality Starts. 8.79 ERA. Give him an F.
Andrew Miller: Made 2 starts. Sox won 0. Made 0 Quality Starts. 15.71 ERA. F minus-minus.
Tim Wakefield: Made 3 starts. Sox won 1. Made 1 Quality Start. 6.19 ERA. A D performance.
Kyle Weiland: Made 2 starts. Sox won 0. Made 0 Quality Starts. 9.00 ERA. He gets an F.
Thus, Sox starters gave the team a chance to win in only 7 of 17 starts. Never mind the bullpen. Forget that Daniel Bard coughed up 3 leads and lost 3 games in 7 days. Or that Matt Albers brought his little gasoline can to the mound with a 9.44 ERA in this slide. Before we blame the relievers, a starting rotation made of Beckett, Lester, and a few pretenders is shooting the Sox in the foot.
Miller, Weiland and Lackey’s performances have been an abomination, but it is Shellackey that elicits the upchuck reflex.
Money isn’t supposed to matter. I don’t get hung up on salaries. But in John’s case, the money is making a difference. Theo signed him to a 5-year, $79.5 Million deal. He is making $15 Million in 2011, the same sum he will be paid in 2012, 2013 and 2014.
Nice job, Theo. You’ve given us two World Championships but only one successful big fish free agent signing (Curt Schilling) in 9 years on the job.
To underscore the point, at this moment John Lackey has left his start today vs. Baltimore after just 4.1 IP. He allowed 8 Earned Runs. The Sox may yet win this game. They lead 18 to 9 through 8 innings. But if they win, it will be not at all due to the most overpaid and underperforming man on the 2011 Red Sox roster.
The game on Sunday was mostly devoid of fan energy and noise. There were a few feisty moments, such as when Wake became the first pitcher ever to throw 3,000 innings for the Beantown 9.
Such highlights did not alter the mood.
The radio broadcasters hit the note repeatedly. “This crowd is nervous. Worried. I’ve never seen a Fenway crowd like this one.”, said Dave O’Brien.
The fans are as tight as the team.