Carl Crawford: Once stung, twice shy

Carl Crawford tries on an ill-fitting cap in this file photo.
Jan-Christian Sorensen
Contributing Writer

This past weekend, Boston won its three-game series against the Dodgers and one-upped Carl Crawford in the bargain — at least temporarily.

Crawford, who was traded to L.A. alongside Josh Beckett, Adrian Gonzalez and Nick Punto in a $250 million salary dump one year ago, lamented in the L.A. Times before the series that playing in Boston was “Just a bad experience.”

“I want to win all three games. Bad,” said the former Red Sox outfielder.

He also told that his time in Boston “…was one of the toughest times in my life… It definitely was one of the best things that ever happened to me in my life to be traded here.”

Most members of Red Sox Nation would likely second that emotion, Carl.

While Crawford made a huge splash in being lured away from Tampa Bay — where he had been a thorn in Boston’s side for many years — and signing a seven-year, $142-million deal with the Sox in the offseason in 2010, he was never able to live up to the type of expectations that his monster contract carried, couldn’t weather the intense glare of the Boston media and came to epitomize his nickname “The Perfect Storm” for all the wrong reasons.

In two truncated seasons marred by injury in Boston, Crawford tallied a .260 average, 14 home runs and 75 RBI while stealing 23 bases in 161 games.

In 2013, Crawford — who has seen time on the disabled list with a hamstring injury — is hitting .292 in 91 games for the Dodgers with five homers, 23 RBI and 12 stolen bases.

Sure seems like $20 million a year doesn't buy much anymore no matter which coast you're on.

While both Gonzalez and Punto were more charitable about their time spent in Boston in the leadup to the weekend series between the division-leading teams, Crawford chose to take a tack that was oddly reminiscent of his short tenure in Boston: divisive and prickly.

Sunday night, however, after the series ended with the Sox taking two of three by a combined score of 12-5, Crawford was a touch more magnanimous in his comments.

“It stings a little bit,” said Crawford, of the loss.

Crawford even went so far as to damn his former team with some faint praise: “They’ve got a good team… they got good pitching over there. We’ve got to make the adjustments at the plate and try to be better if we face them again.”

Of course, with this being the only interleague matchup scheduled between the Sox and the Dodgers in the regular season, it’s easy to guess at what Crawford’s hinting at as a possible Round Two matchup. 

In the first game of the series Crawford indeed put his money where his mouth was, going 2 for 3 with a pair of stolen bases and a run scored as the Sox fell 2-0.

He was inserted late in the second game, drawing a walk in Boston’s 4-2 win, but was a non-issue in the rubber game, going 1 for 4 with two strikeouts as Sox starter Jake Peavy tossed a complete-game, three-hit gem in an 8-1 Boston rout.

Once again, all the pre-series swagger and bravado suddenly seemed like it had been bled dry from Crawford in his post-game comments Sunday night.

“He’s real good,” said Crawford of Peavy. “He was throwing a lot of pitches and keeping us off balance. He seemed to get the best of us today.”

Oh, Carl. If only we had gotten the best of YOU when you were with us, we might still be pals. 

Twitter: @jan_doh