When your back is against the wall, you either toughen up and get going or you fall down. The Sox haven't fallen down yet. But they are on their knees and with a seven-game stretch against the Angels and Yanks, they have to find a way to get going.
Getting swept by the Orioles in Baltimore for the first time in 36 years is a pretty damned humiliating thing. Doing it by losing three games you were in control of is even worse. And when you do it by pitching your closer more than an inning...
Look, I have said it here a million times: You can not and should not throw a closer more than an inning. In rare cases, getting the last out of the eighth to lead into the ninth is workable. But once again, Tito had Paps work a full inning and then come back again. And once again it didn't work.
I love Tito. I want him to coach in Boston for as long as he wants. He has a tough job this year juggling a lot of veterans who aren't getting regular playing time. But he has to stop this 1+ innings thing with Papelbon. It simply doesn't work. I mean, Paps single-handedly allowed the winning run: single + blown pickoff + double = game over. That's a one-man show.
And once again, some good things were overshadowed by the crap. Beckett pitched a solid game: seven innings and two runs allowed on six hits. He walked none and struck out six. He was keeping the ball down in the strike zone. The Sox also nailed Lugo stealing. The Boston catchers are actually catching people now when they try to steal a base. Even Drew is starting to hit.
But it just seems like whenever the Sox are on the edge of getting things straight, they somehow find a way to lose the game. If it isn't the starting pitching, it's the fielding. If it isn't the fielding, it's the bullpen. If it isn't the bullpen, it's the hitting. It's a vicious cycle of suck and it won't stop until the Sox go on a run.
It'd be beyond great if that run began against the Angels and Yankees. The season so far would argue against that happening. But sooner or later, the talent on this Boston squad will assert itself. I just hope it happens in May instead of in August.