The Red Sox roller coaster continues. A few weeks ago I said that this team has not yet had their defining moment, that lack of a moment may be what ends up defining this team. Well, this week they wasted another potential definer (the Saturday night on July 28th) which started a four game winning streak over the Yankees and the Tigers. How did they do that? Well, they ended up losing the final game of that Detroit series and then dropping three out of four to the lowly Twins. The Sox did finally win again yesterday afternoon to snap that four game losing streak, but those three losses to Minnesota are going to stick with this team for a long time.
Monday, July 30: 7-3 win vs. Detroit Tigers (Pedroia and Middlebrooks power Sox by Tigers)
Tuesday, July 31: 4-1 win vs. Tigers (Beckett makes early exit to boo-birds, but Sox beat Verlander)
Wednesday, August 1: 7-5 loss vs. Tigers (Cook gets roughed up in 5th, Sox can’t come back)
Thursday, August 2: 5-0 loss vs. Minnesota Twins (Samuel Deduno stymies Sox, Lester gets tough luck loss)
Friday, August 3: 6-5 loss vs. Twins (Sox can’t capitalize on chances, fall in 10th inning)
Saturday, August 4: 6-4 loss vs. Twins (Joe Mauer silences Fenway Faithful with bomb in 9th)
Sunday, August 5: 6-4 win vs. Twins (Sox avoid sweep with help from Franklin Morales)
The 3-4 week keeps the Red Sox keeps towards the bottom of the AL East, but thankfully the Toronto Blue Jays had an even worse week to move into last place in the division. The Sox are now 54-55 overall, and 10 games behind the Yankees. The wild card race has the Sox 4.5 games back, with the Angels, Orioles and Rays standing in the way. It’s still very possible for this team to be awarded one of those two wild card spots, but they’ll have to start playing winning baseball and actually earn it as nothing is handed to you in professional sports.
The only game the offense really went cold this week was the 5-0 loss on Thursday to a pitcher that I had never heard of before. Besides that, the offense scored enough runs that they should have had a winning week, but the pitching staff let them down again. Baseball is a team sport and the offense could always do more, so that’s why I’m giving them a C+ for the week. Individually, Adrian Gonzalez (.435, 1 HR, 4 RBIs) and Carl Crawford (.345, 2 HR, 8 RBIs) had the best weeks for the team. Crawford was the only player to hit multiple home runs as he went deep for the first two times of his season, and him and Adrian were also the only players with four or more RBIs over the past 7 games. Pedro Ciriaco did hit his first career major league home run on Saturday night, but unfortunately Alfredo Aceves made it worth absolutely nothing when Mauer took him deep (and reminded me once again that Mauer is the man responsible for ending FSU’s football dynasty by choosing baseball over football).
In baseball you are only as good as your next day’s starter. When thinking about that statement in regards to the Red Sox you can see why this team is just not very good this season. Great pitching can win you games, mediocre pitching costs you many games, and the Red Sox pitchers in 2012 are perfectly mediocre through 109 games. Clay Buchholz is becoming the ace of this staff, and his 15 innings this week were exactly what the team needed from him. He allowed just 4 runs (2 earned) on 12 hits while striking out 7 this week and earning one of the team’s wins. Franklin Morales was the only other Sox starter to earn a win, going 6 1/3 innings allowing 1 run on 4 hits. Jon Lester was a tough luck loser pitching 8 strong innings in that shutout this week, giving up 3 runs on 4 hits while striking out 7, and unfortunately the offense let him down that night. Josh Beckett was pitching well before having back spasms in his start, and it went downhill from there with this team. Alfredo Aceves was downright awful this week allowing 6 runs in 3 2/3 innings, but thankfully Andrew Bailey is finally working his way through the minor leagues on a rehab assignment.
The Sox made three errors during Saturday night’s game. While only one of those errors ended up benefitting the Twins with a run, three errors in a professional game should never happen. The only error for the week came on Monday night with a throwing error by Kelly Shoppach, but unfortunately that runner scored too.
The Sox play three with the Rangers at Fenway Park before heading to Cleveland for a four game weekend series beginning on Thursday. Tonight Aaron Cook will square off against Yu Darvish, tomorrow it will be Jon Lester against newcomer Ryan Dempster, and then on Wednesday Josh Beckett is penciled in to face the 13-6 Matt Harrison, so as you can see life doesn’t get any easier for the Sox right now.