Bill Foley (@Foles74)
Would the Red Sox be better off with an actual panda playing third base?
|Jesse Johnson, USA Today Sports|
Does DirecTV offer a partial refund for MLB Extra Innings if your team is mathematically eliminated from the playoffs before the end of June?
Is John Farrell trying to kill us? Can a baseball manager actually be charged with involuntary manslaughter if a fan dies of a heart attack, stroke or aneurism while screaming at his team through the television?
Those are some of the my puzzling questions left after watching the Red Sox bottom out yet again Thursday. Boston blew a 4-0 lead and lost 8-4 in a game that looked like beginning part of a Bad News Bears sequel.
The only thing missing is Tanner Boyle repeatedly slamming his mitt to the ground.
The 2015 Red Sox don’t just lose. They punch their fans in the gut.
Right now the prospect of being five or six games out of first place seems as insurmountable as a 2-0 deficit in the first inning has been for the Sons of John Farrell.
If they need to hear us say it, then we’re crying it like Schwartz when Scut Farkus was twisting his arm. Uncle. Uncle! Uncle!!
We’re at the point in the movie where the comedy of errors is starting to go over the top. It’s time for the team start to somewhat resemble a baseball team.
As bad as Thursday’s loss was, it is still possible for us to feel a little better about our team. There is still reason for us to not give up. As Lloyd Christmas would say, you’re telling me there’s a chance.
There were signs in Tuesday’s win. There were more signs when Eduardo Rodriguez looked like a star again on Wednesday.
Clay Buchholz has also pitched much like the Clay Buchholz at the start of 2013. (Disclaimer, it is never a good idea to get too excited for the incredible tease that is Clay Buchholz.)
Wade Miley and Rick Porcello have had solid outings recently, Steven Wright has proven to be a reliable, sometimes remarkable starter, and it doesn’t appear that Justin Masterson will be rejoining the rotation anytime soon.
David Ortiz looks like he found his swing, as has Napoli. Xander Bogaerts is busting out. Blake Swihart is here to stay. Mookie Betts looks more relaxed now that he has been dropped in the order.
Hanley Ramirez has hit the ball hard as of late, appearing to be closer to healthy after the crash into the wall. Plus, there were a couple of plays Thursday where he didn’t look half bad in left field.
Sandoval has never been spectacular in the regular season. He’s money when the season is on the line in October, though. If the Red Sox ever play in October during the life of his contract, that is a good thing.
It wasn’t an aggressive call by Brian Butterfield that got Napoli thrown out by a mile, it was a brain cramp. Still, Butterfield’s aggressiveness as the third base coach has been one of the highlights of the season.
That will win more games than it loses. So will the Red Sox — seriously — if Dustin Pedroia keeps playing like an MVP.
Looking for one more positive sign for the Red Sox? Turn the clock back 11 years.
Sure, the 2012 and 2014 Red Sox stunk, and there was really no hope from the start. Perhaps the most frustrating team to watch throughout the entire season this century was the 2004 Red Sox. Remember the many horrible losses they had?
Remember the games they gave away that we thought they could never get back?
Who can forget the night when Nomar Garciaparra sulked and Derek Jeter dove into the stands in the Bronx? Or Brett Boone’s walk-off grand slam in Seattle? Or the loss to the Yankees the night before Jason Varitek beat up Alex Rodriguez?
People like me were calling Terry Francona “Francoma,” and we were demanding he be fired. Mark Belhorn was darn near booed out of town before his October revival. Trot Nixon kept getting injured whenever he seemed to be coming on.
Manny Ramirez was playing defense like Hanley Ramirez, Derek Lowe was slipping, and Pedro Martinez wasn’t quite Pedro any more.
But Manny was raking, Ortiz was in his prime, Johnny Damon was setting the plate and Varitek was hitting almost .300. There were so many reasons for the team to be great, yet it spun its wheels in the sand until August.
The frustration was so hard to take because every time the team took a step forward it took two steps back and to the left.
Granted, the lows of this year’s teams have been brutal. But it felt pretty brutal at times in 2004, too.
Then the Red Sox came together and played an August for the ages. Then they gave us all a Hollywood ending.
Will that happen to this team? Probably not.
These Red Sox aren’t even in the same league as the Idiots of ’04, but neither is the rest of the AL East. A team could possible win this division with 84 wins.
It won’t take a Hollywood ending for the Red Sox of 2015 to win that many games.
But if they’re going to do it, it’s time to turn the page on the script because this story is certainly getting old. Bill Foley 6/04/2015 11:08:00 PM Tweet