The baseball season came to an end for the Boston Red Sox yesterday. The baseball calendar shows there are sixty games left, but, essentially, the season ended when the Red Sox lost their third straight game on a Thursday afternoon in Toronto.
I'll readily admit many thought the Red Sox season was over a month ago. Congratulations! You were all right. I'll make sure I lock up on the way out.
I held out hope the Red Sox could get this turned around. I was hopeful Mookie Betts would provide a spark. If Betts struggled (or was never given a legitimate shot), I was sure the return of a healthy Shane Victorino could be a game-changer. I was hopeful Rubby De La Rosa and Brandon Workman could shore up the back end of the starting rotation.
I was disappointed, however, that GM Ben Cherington didn't go out and get a power right-handed bat during the All-Star break to play a corner outfield spot. I've had it with the Daniel Nava, Jonny Gomes, Brock Holt, Mike Carp (and even Mookie Betts) carousel out there. Rumors were flying around that Alex Rios, Dayan Viciedo, Allen Craig, and Matt Kemp were all available. There is also the perennial Boston fan favorite, Giancarlo Stanton. The Red Sox were in trouble when I kept seeing Daniel Nava penciled in the five-spot in the lineup.
To add injury to insult, David Ortiz tweaked his back in his final at-bat yesterday afternoon in Toronto. Maybe he sees the writing on the wall, as well, and has decided to check out on the season. Before you attack me, let's see how soon before he returns to the lineup. I'll set the over/under at two weeks.
This past week embodied all the Red Sox flaws. The Red Sox won when their top two dogs were on the mound and struggled when starters three-through-five took the mound. Lester and Lackey were tremendous giving up only one run total in their two starts. Of course, the Red Sox scored twenty runs in those two starts. Peavy, Buchholz, and De La Rosa saw twenty-one runs scored against them in their three starts, while the Red Sox only scored seven runs. Lester and Lackey have been solid. It's the other three rotation spots that has doomed the Red Sox-- along with that anemic offense.
The Red Sox, simply, could not afford to lose three in a row in the second half of the season if they had a chance. They, especially, could not afford to lose to a divisional rival like Toronto. They really could not afford to lose to starting pitchers like J.A. Happ, R.A. Dickey, or Marcus Stroman (who, as a rookie, is the best of the three... and who almost no-hit the Red Sox).
So who is to blame for this lost season? That will be a story for a different day. I will say that I am frustrated the Red Sox that Jake Peavy is still here and Brandon Workman is in Pawtucket. I've already stated my frustration that the Red Sox weren't more aggressive dealing for a middle-of-the-order bat. And don't overlook the effect of not having Shane Victorino on the field for a majority of the season. The Red Sox could afford to lose Jacoby Ellsbury. They couldn't afford to lose both Ellsbury and Victorino.
Hey, look on the bright side-- now we no longer have to be glued to the TV on these beautiful summer nights. Get out and enjoy the rest of your summer. I know I plan on doing it. It's kind of liberating.