Why do the Red Sox feel the need to keep doing this? I’m not even talking about losing. I could probably live with this team losing games because after the past 2 season I’m used to it. The problem is that every game they lose, they lose in absolute heartbreaking fashion. The past 2 nights, the Sox bullpen has taken over with a lead, and not been able to protect it. I’m beginning to lose count of how many games the Red Sox should have won that they've just thrown away. Let’s think about what we’ve seen over the past couple of weeks. We have Ziegler blowing up on back to back nights against Detroit and Los Angeles, Abad giving up the monster go-ahead home run to Robinson Cano, the bullpen as a whole falling apart Wednesday night, and then we have Thursday.
Thursday night, the Red Sox took a 2-1 lead into the 8th inning. Eduardo Rodriguez was dealing and had give up just the one run on a home run that was hit in the third inning. E-Rod had made it through 7 innings on just 93 pitches leading the fans to believe that we’d at least see him start the 8th. As usual, John Farrell made the least logical decision in the given situation. Instead of keeping Rodriguez in the game, Farrell decided to bring in Brad Ziegler. Instead of letting a youthful 23 year old starter who is on a roll stay in the game, Farrell opted to go with a 36 year old reliever whose fastball tops out at about 85 mph pitch on back to back nights. This led to a bases loaded situation in the top of the 8th with just 1 out and Jacoby Ellsbury at the plate. Ellsbury lined one to left that looked like it was going to be caught by left fielder Andrew Benintendi and result in a sacrifice fly to tie the game. Instead, Benintendi lost the ball in the lights and the ball rolled all the way to the wall allowing the Yankees to take a 3-2 lead. This lead would grow to 4-2 on a swinging bunt by Alex Rodriguez in his last Fenway at bat. 4-2 would end up being the final score despite a small 9th inning rally that was killed by a Xander Bogaerts strikeout.
If this team is fully committed to winning now, they still have one more move to make. Fire John Farrell. If Torey Lovullo was named manager before Opening Day, there's no doubt in my mind that this team would be in first place. The Red Sox are currently 3 games back in the AL East. John Farrell’s stupidity has cost the Red Sox far more than 3 games. Why wasn’t someone warming up in the bullpen after Price got taken deep in the 8th inning in Seattle? Why was Junichi Tazawa even pitching in a close game on Wednesday? Why didn’t he send Eduardo Rodriguez out there for the 8th inning? These are all questions that only John Farrell can answer, even if the answers are completely illogical. This isn’t a World Series caliber team, but this is a playoff caliber team. With Torey Lovullo at the helm, I can definitely see this team making a run and getting into the playoffs. With John Farrell, this team will continue to inexplicably lose games and fall in the standings. According to ESPN’s Scott Lauber, John Henry was at the game Thursday night and in the clubhouse after the game. As a fan you just have to have faith that Henry is seeing things the same way that we are. I trust that the front office will make the right choice and give Torey a chance to salvage this season.
What the hell is wrong with Xander Bogaerts? How can someone go from batting over .350 and working on a 26 game hitting streak to looking like Christian Vazquez at the plate. Coming into tonight, Bogaerts had gone 11 for his last 61 (.180), and a 1 for 5 performance isn’t going to help that. Xander is lunging for breaking balls way out of the zone, trying to pull every pitch he sees for a home run, and fouling back the only good pitches he gets to hit. He’s basically the equivalent to a slumping Hanley Ramirez except for the fact that he has much less potential to go deep even if he does get a hold of one. If Xander can’t get his shit together soon, he’s going to need to be moved down in the lineup or even be given a couple days off to try and get back to the basics. If he continues to play like this, he’s going to drag the team down with him.
This next series against the Diamondbacks is a must-sweep. If they can’t manage to sweep this team, they won’t be able to sweep any team. In a dream scenario, John Farrell would be fired tonight and this would be Torey Lovullo’s first series as a full time manager. Nonetheless, no matter who is managing it is up to the players to go out a play well. If they want to stay in the hunt for October they can not continue to close winnable games. The Sox have David Price on the hill tomorrow. It’s another big start for Price on Friday. He needs to prove that he can be the stopper that they acquired him to be, and he also needs to redeem himself for a dismal outing against the Dodgers last Sunday. I feel like every time I say it’s a big start for Price, he goes out an underperforms. Maybe he’ll go out and prove me wrong. For the sake of Red Sox fans mental health, I really hope that he can. Lastly, Hanley Ramirez got absolutely trucked at first base by Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez. From his initial reaction, it looked like Hanley would be out for quite a while. Surprisingly, he stayed in the game to finish the inning but did not make his next at-bat. We’ll just have to wait and see what happens with Hanley going forward.