I did something I've never done before watching the Red Sox in all the time I've been a fan of the team: I saw the first pitch of the game, and turned off the TV, knowing the game was over and the Red Sox were heading for another loss.
Brett Lawrie took Jon Lester onto Lansdowne Street. 1-0 Toronto.
I had seen enough.
A total disgrace of a performance by Lester. 11 earned runs in 4 innings. That is a 24.75 ERA for a guy who pitched nearly half the game. It's the first time a Red Sox pitcher has allowed that many runs in a game since the infamous Doug Bird turned the trick in 1983. (It's never a good thing when you've matched a record Bird holds.)
I don't know if Bobby Valentine was sending a message to Lester by leaving him as long as he did. Or perhaps he didn't want to tax the pen, with a difficult road trip ahead.
I followed the game on my iPhone and, every time I checked, Lester was putting men on base and Toronto was changing the scoreboard. Even when the Red Sox showed some fight and tried to get back in the game, like when Adrian Gonzalez blasted a three-run shot in the first to make it 5-3, Lester reached into his bag of tricks and made sure the offense couldn't catch up.
A 15-7 final.
The Red Sox lost 6-1, 7-3 and 15-7 to a team that was reeling with injuries, in last place and had just been swept in New York. (And now the Sox are the last place team.) Pete Abraham tweeted tonight that the Red Sox pitchers have a 5.70 ERA at Fenway in their last 67 games. That's an even bigger disgrace.
Lester and Josh Beckett were the biggest culprits in the season that went down the crapper last September. I thought they might be two guys on a mission this season, to prove that last season's finish was an aberration. Right now, both are reinforcing that they are two overrated pitchers, and are killing the Red Sox chances of making the postseason this year. They both need to take very long looks in the mirror.
I have no idea what's wrong here. An injury? You've got me. I don't get paid to figure these things out.
Some might still be holding on to hope. You know, "The Red Sox are only 3 1/2 games back in the Wild Card. There's still time." Can you honestly look at this team's starting pitching and have confidence that everything will be alright?
And now if this weekend wasn't bad enough, the Red Sox now hit the road and play two of the best offensive teams in the AL this week: Texas and New York. This could get REALLY ugly. (The Red Sox are 1-7 against Texas and New York this season. And all eight games were played at Fenway Park.)
You can only win over the long haul if you pitch. Especially from your starting pitching. Lester and Beckett aren't being traded by July 31st, sent to the bullpen or the minors to straighten themselves out. The only hope the Sox have is that they get things right while starting. There's no other choice.
48-48 with 66 to play. It's not early anymore.
Once again, the Red Sox embarrassed their loyalest fans with some absolutely putrid baseball. And I've written that last line on more than one occasion this year. And I have a feeling it won't be the last.