Ramble On Sports

Where sports, pop culture and everything else collide.

And right on cue…the Red Sox let us down

Posted by Bill Koch on August 12, 2010

Days like Thursday are why we just can’t warm up to this Red Sox team.

Just when it looks like they might make one final run at getting into the American League’s postseason discussion, Boston lets it all slip away to a bunch of pathetic losers like the Toronto Blue Jays. That 6-5 loss, coupled with a few other gutwrenchers sprinkled throughout the season, should explain to everyone why this version of the Red Sox didn’t exactly have us at ‘Hello.’

John Lackey did a pretty decent job through his first eight innings. Considering the way Toronto had hammered him in his previous two starts against the Blue Jays, that was probably more than enough to ask. Instead, no doubt in fear that Lackey would melt down and start to cry if he felt like he was being taken out even a single pitch earlier than he was ready to depart, This Manager ran out one of 2010’s biggest free agent busts to start the ninth. Lackey promptly fired an intimidating, ace-like 91-mph fastball down the middle that Jose Bautista hit somewhere toward Edmonton to make it 5-3.

Exit Lackey, enter Jonathan Papelbon, who hasn’t exactly been a sure thing all season. Sure enough, Papelbon touched off a chain of events that ended with a sacrifice fly to center by Fred Lewis against Daniel Bard. Papelbon blew his sixth save of the season, just two less than he posted in 2008-09 combined, and his WAR (wins about replacement) value dipped to 1.4. That number was a healthy 4.8 during Papelbon’s breakout 2006 season, his first as Boston’s closer, making him essentially indispensable in a tight postseason race. That doesn’t seem to be the case anymore. Boston trails Tampa Bay by four games in the wildcard hunt and is now 5.5 behind the New York Yankees for the AL East lead.

Yes, Boston has plenty of games left against the Rays and Yankees. We’ve heard that. Let’s break down some other numbers. The Red Sox are 24-24 against the AL East – and yes, the Rays and Yankees both play in that division. Boston won’t gain on anybody playing .500 baseball.

The Red Sox have 46 games left. In order to make up four games on the Rays, assuming that Tampa plays .500 baseball, Boston will have to go 25-21 to force a tie. If the Rays continue at their current .605 clip and go 29-19 over their last 48 games, the Red Sox will have to go 31-15. Can anybody out there give us a reason that any team that runs out Lackey and Daisuke Matsuzaka every five days can do such a thing? With all of Boston’s injuries, the dreadful season being put up by J.D. Drew, Papelbon’s inconsistency and everything else staring the Red Sox in the face? We didn’t think so.

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