It’s not even the third full week of the baseball season, and the Red Sox are 5-10, fourth in the American League East. I just sat through nine innings of pathetic ball, in which Chris Davis, the Orioles first baseman who’d been 0-for-54 until today, hitless since September 14 of last year, went 3-for-5 with two doubles and 4 RBIs. The defending World Champion 108-regular-season-win Boston Red Sox lost 9-5 to the Baltimore Orioles, who went 47-115 last year.
I’m officially frustrated.
I know I said earlier this week that we have so much baseball left to play. And it’s true, we do. 147 regular season games, to be specific, and maybe some October ball if we manage to pull our heads out of our asses. But at the moment, it feels like the sky is falling. Or rather, it’s a particularly hard, fast, nasty fall from grace. That’s how it is when you’re a Boston fan; the pendulum swings hard in both directions, the highs are the highest and the lows are the lowest. Every game matters. It’s an insane life, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
But I’m officially out of excuses for this team. During Spring Training, the obvious excuse was that it was Spring Training and the team had had a shorter offseason than everyone else. The first weekend of the season, I said that the Sox starters hadn’t gotten enough work during Spring Training and that I wouldn’t be nervous until I’d seen the starting rotation a few times through. Then, the whole ‘east coast teams struggle when they come to the west coast’ thing. And of course, the perennial springtime-in-Boston excuse: ‘it’s hard to play in cold weather’ schtick.
However, on a beautiful, 70-degree, cloudless Saturday at Fenway, the day after a Fenway Friday win that felt like a turning point, there were no excuses. There was just bad pitching from Rick Porcello (90 pitches over four-plus innings) and Colten Brewer, to name a few of today’s arms, virtually no hitting from the lineup, and a host of stranded runners. The Orioles outhit, outscored, and outplayed the Red Sox almost from the get-go, like Freaky Friday on a Saturday. It was an unpleasant, but already-familiar scene in Boston; a lifeless, dull team who can’t seem to find a way to fuel their own fire. At times, they’re either trying too hard, or not trying enough, but the results are almost always the same: losses.
The Yankees, meanwhile, have put nearly their entire team on the Injured List, and still managed to beat the White Sox 4-0 today. Their skeleton crew team also swept the Orioles last week.
Now, this isn’t to say that there haven’t been bright spots so far this season. It’s great to see Dustin Pedroia back out at second base, making excellent defensive plays and driving in runs. Eduardo Rodriguez struck out eight batters last night; he and Hector Velazquez are the only two starters to have good outings so far. And Mitch Moreland has put the offense (or lack thereof) on his back, with 5 home runs and 12 RBIs, eight of which were tying or go-ahead. Without him, the team is 0-15. That’s not hyperbole. But that is really the only good I have to say about this team, this World Champion team.
So after sitting through three games at Fenway this week and one game in Oakland last week (they’re 1-3 when I go), I don’t really have anything else to say to you except that this sucks. It’s not fun, and it’s frustrating, and it just sucks. And until this team decides that it wants to start defending their crowns, it’ll keep sucking. Doesn’t mean I’m going to stop watching or praying or abandon them, because I never will. I’m just not going to keep trying to spin this.
Today was a bad one. Tomorrow is another day.
Photo: Boston Herald