This Red Sox team could not frustrate me more if they tried. On Tuesday night, they dropped game 2 of their must-sweep series with Tampa Bay despite taking a 3-1 lead into the 7th inning. Hanley Ramirez went 3 for 4 with 2 RBI’s; one of which coming on a 324 foot solo home run that he wrapped around the pesky pole in right.
Hanley was pretty much the only bright spot on a night where the league's best offense was underwhelming at best. It looked as though they still had a shot until Drew Pomeranz gave up a 2 run game tying long ball in the top of the 7th. One inning later, Clay Buchholz came on in relief and was not able to keep the game tied at 3, giving up a solo shot over the Monster to Evan Longoria. You could sit here and talk about why you think that they lost this game. I don’t even have to check twitter to know what everyone has to say about this. “Xander Bogaerts sucks! Clay Buchholz sucks! Travis Shaw Sucks! Why haven’t we called up Moncada yet? Why won’t they fire John Farrell?” It’s not even worth talking about why they lost this game specifically. So let’s talk about why this Red Sox team continues to lose games that they simply should not.
It doesn’t make sense that the Red Sox are the best run producing offense in baseball, yet they continue to lose games due to a lack of offensive production. The Red Sox offense is best described in 4 words. David Price Xander Bogaerts. By this I mean that they have so much god given ability to absolutely dominate their opponents, but for no apparent reason they will go through stretches in which they are just terrible. It’s one thing when it’s just one of the players on the team going through a rough patch. However, when the ENTIRE OFFENSE goes cold at the same time, that’s not good. Considering the way they’d swung the bats lately, any Sox fan would’ve predicted a 6 hit game from Pedroia alone before they would’ve predicted a 6 hit night from the team as a whole. And this is exactly what I’m talking about. They can go from scoring 9 runs one night, to struggling to get 3 runs the next. This is just something that we as fans are going to have to live with and hope that they don’t hit a cold stretch in the next few weeks when every game matters.
My primary source of frustration while watching the Red Sox play over the past 5 months has most definitely been John Farrell. It started in April with a scuffling Chris Young pinch hitting for a red hot Travis Shaw. It continued into the middle of the season with lefty specialist Tommy Layne pitching to righties, Bryce Brentz pinch hitting over Aaron Hill, and Steven Wright giving up grand slams in the rain when there’s already a reliever ready and waiting in the bullpen. Now it’s not going to Brad Ziegler in clean 8th innings, sending Steven Wright to run the bases, pitching Junichi Tazawa in high leverage situations, and in Tuesday night’s game it was pitching Craig Kimbrel in the 9th inning when they were down by 1 run. Every decision John Farrell makes just rubs me the wrong way.
It’s as if he is trying to lose that night’s game, or at least make sure that they are in the worst position possible for the following night. I’m not even upset about him going to Clay Buchholz in the 8th. It’s almost as if it’s his last resort due to the failure of all of their set up men this season. It began as Koji’s job to lose, which then became Tazawa’s job to lose, which then became Matt Barnes/Heath Hembree’s job to lose, which then became Brad Ziegler’s job to lose, and now it has fallen to Buchholz. After allowing the game winning home run on Tuesday, in the minds of Red Sox fans, he has already lost it. Regardless, it's not Farrell's fault his bullpen sucks. On the other hand, I don’t want to see Kimbrel in any game that’s not at least tied. It doesn’t make sense to take the risk of either injury or high pitch count making him unavailable for another night when you might actually be winning going into the 9th. This may be the dumbest move I’ve seen from him to this point in the week. Then again, Farrell always finds ways to outdo himself when it comes to his own stupidity.
On the bright side, this team has proven that they are very capable of bouncing back from bad losses like this one. Hopefully they can continue this trend with Steven Wright on the mound. Aside from an ugly first inning his last time out, Wright was solid and will need to keep it going on Wednesday. This is unless the Sox offense decides to show up.