It got to the point when Oakland scored three runs in the fourth to grab the lead 3-0, I actually said to myself, "This game's over." I have never thought that once this season when the Red Sox have fallen behind by that many runs in the early innings. (Like last Sunday when they fell behind 4-0 to New York in the fourth, you could just sense they would come back in that game. And they did.)
But last night, they looked like a team going through the motions. It was depressing to watch them hitting into yet more double plays, three of them, and two were genuine rally killers. The big hit just isn't there right now.
It is especially frustrating when you look at who the opposition starting pitchers are. The last two nights it has been those noted "superstar" lefty hurlers Lenny DiNardo and Joe Kennedy. (No one ever confused them with Sandy Koufax or Johan Santana.) When I saw Kennedy as last night's starter, I thought this was the night the Red Sox offense gets well. I figured for 5 or 6 runs off him easily. The Red Sox were shut out by him for the first six innings before finally getting two in the seventh. But it proved to be too late.
It was also a miserable night behind the plate, as umpire Dan Iassogna had a strike zone all over the place, and for both teams. Finally on an obvious high pitch to Dustin Pedroia, Terry Francona was ejected from the dugout for arguing. But after he left the dugout to get his 2 cents in, Iassogna said something and Tito absolutely blew his stack, as bad as I've ever seen him get angry (pictured). Lots of obvious "piggie" words came out, and he spent the rest of the game in the clubhouse. I can't help but think that exhibition by Tito was more for "home consumption" to try to get this lethargic club going again. It didn't help the rest of the night, though.
Once again, the umpiring in MLB continues to be absymal, and I'm not saying that just because of what happened last night. Umps are missing way too many calls on the bases, and the home plate umping has been atrocious. There are umps with zones of varying sizes, and there are simply too many awful men in blue these days. It may go back to the disaster that happened to the umps union a few years back. Many of those umps who came in just aren't cutting the mustard, and the game is suffering because of it. They should be judged the way the NFL does to their officials, with the incompetents weeded out.
The Red Sox need a kick in the ass right now. Curt Schilling goes this afternoon in the finale in Oakland today, in an effort to avoid a sweep. Let's hope if he tosses a good game it doesn't get wasted in a pile of lethargic offense and ground-ball double plays.