Just about three weeks ago, I left the country for an amazing vacation in Europe. We drank, we danced and we had a blast. Meanwhile, on the other side of the Atlantic, it seems everything had gone to shit. The 2010 Red Sox are done like dinner. They had a shot to be really, really good, but injuries, ineffectiveness and all manner of crappy decision making led them to the point they are at now: playing out the string with a collection of old guys, cast offs and minor leaguers.
Sure, the pitching is still pretty good. Buchholz deserves some nods for Cy Young, and Jon Lester is still the man, but Beckett and Lackey are underperforming like it was super cool, and we are learning that no matter how good your pitching is, you still need to defend and score some freaking runs to win games.
Ever since I got back, I have been searching for answers as to how it got this bad. Had Theo tempted fate a little to much by calling this season a “Bridge Year” in the spring and then throwing the team’s highest payroll ever out there? Did we all need a fall free of drama, sleepless nights and heavy drinking? Did the fans (I’m looking at you, Benny Bagels) make this happen by not watching? Did the baseball gods finally decide that injuries had stayed too far away from the Sox?
No matter who it is that we blame (I’m thinking the injuries may have something to do with it though) this season was a missed opportunity in many many ways. The Sox were 36-20 through May and June, dominating everyone (it helped that they were 13-5 against the senior circuit) and seemingly getting ready to put a hurting on the Yanks and Rays. Then the bug hit; Beckett was already on the DL, Victor and Pedey went down within a few days and then, just after the break, when things were looking like they might get back to normal, Youk somehow got an injury that f#$%ing nobody ever gets, and was shut down for the season. (Don’t even mention Ellsbury. He is dead to me and will be so until he returns and steals home again) There were just too many injuries and the outfield of McDonald, Hall and Drew hasn’t exactly been what we planned on.
The nail in the coffin has really been (amazingly) the goddamn Baltimore Orioles. The Orioles were mathematically eliminated about three hours after pitchers and catchers reported, but they have beaten the Sox to a tune of 7-6 this season. No, you aren’t reading that wrong, the Sox have lost seven of the thirteen games they have played against the Baltimore “33 Games Out” Orioles. They are 11-4 against the Blue Jays, who are at least good enough to be troublemakers this month, but they can’t freaking beat a team that I’m pretty sure dropped two of three to the Japanese Little Leaguers. Last night’s game just proved it to me, this season is over.
With the top four guys in the lineup all missing significant (Read: devastating) time this season, what did we really expect?