As bad as Thursday night was, Friday hurt worse.
It was a game the Red Sox really could have won. And really should have won. But didn't.
Josh Beckett once again is proving he is the leading candidate for the AL Cy Young Award. He was simply superb. Allowed just three hits in seven innings in The Wind Tunnel. But the offense decided not to show up at all last night.
Four hits in fifteen bloody innings. Yikes. The bullpen was terrific, pitching 7 2/3 innings of scoreless ball.
A.J. Burnett was also superb, allowed just one hit in over seven innings. But the Red Sox had to find a way to win this. And they couldn't. Slappy hit with a two-run home run to end the scoreless tie off rookie Junichi Tazawa to put the Red Sox now 4 1/2 games back, and they are now just one game ahead of the Texas Rangers in the Wild Card race. Tampa Bay lost in Seattle in extra innings last night, but they trail the Sox by only 2 1/2 games.
Now the focus shifts to Clay Buchholz. He has to step up and show he belongs in the majors, and that the no-hitter of two years ago was no fluke. Earlier this year he questioned why he was still in the minors as he was pitching so well at Pawtucket. He's been less than impressive since his first start in Toronto, and last Sunday he was simply absymal. When your offense gives you 14 runs in five innings, you should win. Otherwise he maybe just a glorified AAA pitcher who can't make it in the majors.
Granted, New York seems to have the advantage with C.C. Sabathia pitching today, but the Red Sox have hit him in the past. And they have to hit him today. A split is still possibility, and it's really manditory now. So now it's time for Buchholz.
Put up or shut up today.