Ramble On Sports

Where sports, pop culture and everything else collide.

Time to stick a fork in the Red Sox

Posted by Bill Koch on August 30, 2010

This will be the last Boston Red Sox post that you’ll see on Ramble On from me this year.

I make that decision today because the season is now officially over. Boston’s 5-3 loss to Tampa Bay on Sunday night dropped the Red Sox 6.5 games behind the Rays and the New York Yankees with just 31 to play, an insurmountable deficit when you’re looking at two teams of that caliber. Those guys aren’t the New York Mets. They’re not choking after rolling through their first 130 games a full 30 over the .500 mark.

The true shame is that Boston didn’t have to lose two out of three games at The Trop Dump this weekend. The Red Sox could have won all three. They were there for the taking. We already told you how we think Boston fumbled away Saturday’s game. Sunday brought more embarrassment, only this time it came on a national stage for all to see.

— Fate dictated that John Lackey would start this game. The most disappointing member of the 2010 Red Sox was the only fitting man to preside over their funeral, and he did it in typical Lackey fashion. He blew a 3-1 lead in the sixth inning and had his declining stuff exposed yet again when Carl Crawford hit a two-run homer that was on its way toward the Gulf of Mexico before it slammed into the right field bleachers. Lackey was left out there to rot like fish in the blazing sunshine in the seventh before leaking another run, sealing Boston’s doom for the night and the season.

— We thought that the Little League World Series game was over before Boston battled Tampa. Apparently, the Red Sox are operating under the Williamsport guidelines that everybody on the team has to play. Starting Yamaico Navarro at second base instead of Jed Lowrie was an asinine decision. Yes, Navarro drove in a run with a single, but he also struck out twice against James Shields and had no business being in a game of this magnitude with Lowrie having hit safely in 11 of his last 14. If Lowrie isn’t healthy enough to play three or four days straight, release him and get someone who can get the job done. We already saw what happened last year when Rocco Baldelli and his mitochondrial disease/HIV virus/ebola-type symptoms ate up one of Boston’s slots on the 25-man roster for six months.

— This Manager was at his worst in this series when the Red Sox needed good decisions the most. His blundering continued into Sunday when he penciled Navarro into the lineup, stayed with Lackey way too long and failed to make the correct pitching changes yet again. Lackey should never have been allowed to start the seventh inning after giving up the lead in the sixth. Replacing him with Hideki Okajima to face Carlos Pena was just fine – lefty-lefty is a very good idea against Pena, a strikeout machine – but leaving Okajima in to face Evan Longoria was like turning Ron Jeremy loose on a house full of nymphomaniacs. Boston was lucky that Longoria only lined a single to center field. Most of us were expecting a three-run homer that would have busted the game wide open. And stop before you insist that Okajima was left in so that he could face another lefthanded hitter. Felix Doubront could have come out of the bullpen to replicate the lefty-lefty matchup one more time and keep it a one-run deficit. It’s decisions like these that have dropped the This Manager and the Red Sox to 7-22 in games against the Rays decided by two runs or less since 2008. Two of those games this weekend are the reasons why we won’t see you again until the offseason.

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One Response to “Time to stick a fork in the Red Sox”

  1. […] We’ll admit that we’ve been slacking a little bit on our baseball coverage here at Ramble On, and that’s mainly because a certain team that plays its home games at Fenway Park has fallen out of the American League postseason chase. (It’s also due to my own self-imposed embargo on anything Red Sox-related until the season is over.) […]

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