Like just about every other Red Sox fan who walks God's earth, I am royally pissed at Eric Gagne. Once again, he spit the bit and gave up a game-tying home run to Miguel Tejada in the eighth inning, and Baltimore went on to win in 10 innings, 6-3 on Kevin Millar's three-run shot.
Gagne has been a complete disaster. In five outings, he has struglled in each one. His Red Sox ERA is now over 15.00, in four innings. He's allowed 10 hits, and the opposition is hitting a staggering .474 against him. Once again you have to wonder why he is getting belted the way he has. Is it an injury? This puts Terry Francona in a tough situation. When does he bring Gagne back into a clutch situation like the last two, where he failed so miserably? Francona should have stuck with Hideki Okajima to finish the inning, but brought Gagne in to help his confidence. He maybe destroying any trust Francona has in him now.
Gagne to his credit has not blamed his problems on anyone but himself. Francona sounded optimistic about him after the game. He has tried to show faith in him. But the season is winding down. The Red Sox simply cannot afford to give away games, and a series like they did this weekend in Baltimore. The Yankees swept the fading Indians in Cleveland, and are now 4 games back.
But as bad as Gagne has bad, don't overlook another atrocious job by the Red Sox offense. They left another nine men on base on Sunday, and wiped out two rallies by double plays (courtesy of Manny Ramirez and Eric Hinske). This has been what's killing this team all year: missed opportunities. The Red Sox are near the top of the AL in getting men on base, but they are one of the worst in overall percentage of getting those men in. The Red Sox could easily have scored seven runs on Sunday, and Gagne's latest meltdown wouldn't have led to them losing this game.
Curt Schilling pitched six solid innings, allowing just one unearned run. Once again, he gets another no-decision. And that's a shame really.
Blame Gagne for this latest travesty, but don't let the offense off the hook. They have to shoulder some of the blame here. It's time for them to stop wasting precious chances and seal away wins. It's getting late, with just 45 games to go.
The Red Sox have a relatively easy schedule the rest of the way. Time to get serious, or make other plans come October.