It isn't a betrayal of the team to realize that things have changed since last the Sox and Yankees met. The Yankees have looked dominant since the All-Star break, while the Sox are 8-10 and have yet to beat a team with a record over .500 in that span. And while the Yankee pitching staff is looking solid, the Boston rotation is looking very, very thin.
The past two games in Tampa have just reinforced that point. Boston has two reliable arms right now in Lester and Beckett. The team is all but duty-bound to win when those two guys are on the mound because it's a crap shoot the rest of the way right now. And after Boston blew their Lester start in Tampa, did anyone really think they would win last night?
Penny barfed up four runs in the first three innings and five over his six innings of work. And by that point the Sox were buried. And while the offense deserves a little blame for not teeing off on a struggling David Price, when you are down four runs it changes the way you approach the game. It favors the opposing pitcher and Price took advantage of that dynamic.
But is this anything surprising. As much as the Sox have dominated the Yankees to this point in 2009, so have the Rays dominated the Red Sox. Boston is 4-8 against the Rays in 2009, although it feels like it should be 0-12. Boston rarely seems to have an answer to whatever the Rays throw at them.
But this is just symptomatic of a larger problem for Boston, which has been their relative ineffectiveness in the second half of the season. It's all well and good when the Sox tee off on the Orioles, but Texas thrashed them with ease. Toronto and Oakland, two very beatable teams, made Boston look as mediocre as they are. And Tampa just looked better.
So how will Boston look in the Bronx for four games?
Well, we know that Smoltz will pitch a game...God help us all. Either Buchholz or a mystery pitcher (Paul Byrd?) will throw a game. We are lucky in that both Lester and Beckett are throwing, and the Sox must win those two games. That's all I am hoping for at this point; a split. If the Sox don't lose any ground we should fall to our knees and praise the deity of our choice because it will be a god-damned miracle.
Boston's woes are tied to their pitching now, which is funny considering the problems they had with offense earlier. But their much-vaunted pitching depth was extinguished quickly with an injury to Wakefield, the completely out-of-shape Daisuke going on the DL and Buchholz proving he is still a headcase. I wish those rumors for both Cliff Lee and V-Mart coming to Boston had been true; it would have completely changed the look of the team. As it is, we have to hope and pray Theo can get something done on the waiver wire. Boston is not a playoff team right now. Hell, the way they are playing right now they would be lucky to finish the year in third place in the AL East.
Boston's 8-0 lead in this series means nothing now. The Yanks and Sox are in different places, heading in different directions. It is imperative that Boston splits in the Bronx. Otherwise, New York's lead heading into the stretch will be near insurmountable. And does anyone think that Boston, the way they are right now, could make up a five or six game deficit?
Thursday, August 6, 2009
After this two-game debacle in Tampa, does any Boston fan feel confident going into the Bronx?