Dear Red Sox: We’re all in. Where were you? Signed, A Discouraged Fan.
On the heels of Josh Beckett’s brilliant outing against the Yankees Sunday night, Dice-K took the mound on Monday and coughed up a fur ball the size of a grizzly bear. Giving up 7 runs in the first two innings and then going on to lose the game 16 – 5, put enough air under the wings of the Manny-less Tampa Bay Rays to kick their season into gear. Just a nice little service offered up by our Dice-K. You’re welcome. But before you say that the humiliating defeat should be placed squarely on Dice-K, look around. There is plenty of blame to spread throughout the clubhouse. The Sox have stranded too many men on the bases, and that speaks volumes about the ever-changing lineup. With so many guys that just cannot get hot at the plate, the black holes are numerous. Perhaps too much time in spring training was spent on the golf course.
Look, I’m a huge Red Sox fan. I love the Olde Towne Team. Rah-rah-sis-boom-bah, and all that stuff. But all the talent in the world cannot win a World Series if the players don’t show up for the games. Yes, I know, there are 152 games left. But at what point do you have to stop counting the games remaining? Those losses make a huge difference at the end of the season — Especially in the AL East, the toughest division in baseball.
What is missing that did not show up on paper when the front office designed this team over the winter?
Take a look at the Tampa Bay Rays. Coming off of the shocking disappointment of Manny’s sudden “retirement”, with a poor start to the season, and a decimated lineup with their stars either on the DL or on other teams, the Rays stumbled into Fenway Park. Who led the charge but Sam Fuld (who?), a kid from New Hampshire that grew up a Red Sox fan. With 30 members of his family and friends in the stands, he had a spectacular night, hitting 4 for 6, one single away from hitting for the cycle, and making outstanding plays in the outfield. He could barely contain his excitement and it was contagious. He led the way and the rest of the Rays responded. That is what is missing on the Red Sox. Dustin Pedroia cannot do it alone. He may be strong but those diminutive shoulders cannot carry the rest of those big hulks for long. The lackluster performance of last night’s loss, and all the other losses, are doing damage. Players are down and, believe me, fans are singing the blues. Maybe fans need to hear the eloquent speech Theo delivered to the team that seemed to bolster them (temporarily) over the weekend. We need something, guys, before the Boo-Birds that were out in force last night take over Fenway.
We’re all in. Where are you?