The Red Sox completed a disasterous three-game series in Toronto with another lethargic 6-1 loss to the Blue Jays, just like on Monday night. The bats simply did not show up in this game, as they managed only three hits against Jesse Litsch. (Another scrub who the Red Sox make look like Tom Seaver.)
Clay Buchholz was very good for four innings, but ran into trouble in the fifth and gave up two runs, including an error when he tried to make an ill-advised throw to third on a bunt to nail a runner, but instead threw it away. The game remained 2-1 until the eighth. The Sox threatened in the seventh, loading the bases with two outs when Julio Lugo hit a strange grounder that took a weird bounce on SS Ray Olmedo. He regrouped and nailed Lugo at first. (The replays made it look like Lugo wasn't busting it coming out of the batter's box and only turned it on when he realized the ball had taken a funny bounce. Swell.)
It was another night of missed opportunities, hitting into double plays and not taking advantage. The offense simply did not show up in Toronto, as they scored a mere 5 runs in three games against a .500 team playing out the schedule. (The Blue Jays head to New York next, and you know as sure as shootin' they will roll over like dogs this weekend in the Bronx.)
Jonathan Papelbon gave up a grand slam in the eighth to Russ Adams (him again?) to put the game out of reach, 6-1. Papelbon came in to try to straighten out the mess created by Mike Timlin, who loaded the bases with one out. The Red Sox went with barely a wimper in the ninth, and with New York's win over the Orioles, the AL East lead is now 1 1/2 games.
Yeah, yeah, I know. Both the Red Sox and Yankees are heading to the postseason, as the Detroit Tigers are heading down the elevator shaft, having been swept in Cleveland, and the Sox' magic number for a playoff berth is now down to three. Right now it's just a matter of who the Red Sox will play in the first round, Cleveland or LA. But this awful play recently, in many facets of the game, is to say the least worrying. You have to wonder how far this Red Sox team can go in the postseason. (I won't try to speculate on that now. My head hurts too much.)
And by the way, anyone who brings up "1978" this week in regard to the AL East race has absolutely no idea what they are talking about. When baseball went to the three division system per league in 1994 and brought in the Wild Card, it ended the type of race we saw that year. And since both teams are heading to the postseason, any drama about this race is more or less artificial. And if both teams end up with the same record this year, there will be no tiebreaker game, as New York won the season series. So that ancient year is just part of the history books, and has absolutely no relevance to 2007 at all. None.
The Sox head to Tampa Bay on Friday night, and have the pleasure of facing Scott Kazmir that night, while the Sox will call on Josh Beckett, who'll be going for number 20. They better not look past the Rays, who have actually played decent ball the last month. And we had better see a better effort from this club this weekend, especially at the plate. They sleepwalked through Toronto, and let's hope they wake up when they get to St. Pete.