Attention: This is not a test!
The time has come, my fellow members of the Red Sox Nation (Constitutional Monarch est. 1901 - population: 127,723,271), to devolve into absolute panic and pandemonium! The alarm bells are sounding, the red lights are flashing, Hal has taken control of the ship! There is nothing left to live for, there is no hope, the season is over and the rivers have turned to blood! We must all take to the streets and make the long, dark, cold trek down to Maryland and become Orioles fans. It is our only hope for survival...
Okay, perhaps I'm being a tad melodramatic, but the Red Sox did lose last night to Cleveland. With Texas, there were plenty of excuses to go around, such as "it was too hot," or "their uniforms were funny colors," but not with the Indians. This is a team that is so unfathomably, irreconcilably bad that they continue to play, year after year, in Cleveland, despite very solid, scientific evidence that it is, in fact, Cleveland.
At least Josh Beckett didn't suck, I can take some solace in that. After five innings of grueling work in which he threw 107 pitches, he allowed three earned runs and five hits, and only walked a paltry 17. Certainly that will not win him any awards, but, hey, he didn't deliberately punch the umpire in the face (that we know of). Under normal conditions, an outing such as that should be enough to keep your team at least mildly competitive.
His efforts were foiled, however, by the all-time great Josh Tomlin, a pitcher so exceptional that he kept the Red Sox lineup, which is composed entirely of future members of the Hall of Fame, to only three hits and one run in seven innings of work. Two of those hits were by Pedroia, who is so far the only member of the offense that has been willing to try, just to mix things up, actually hitting the ball.
It was a little fun watching the Red Sox bullpen, composed last night of Albers, Jenks and Bard, acquire eight of the nine outs they were tasked with recording via the strikeout. In fact, compared with the performances of the starting rotation, the bullpen has been very good this year. I wonder if Francona, in a fit of chewing-tobacco induced rage, will consider a "pitcher by committee" approach to the next few games. I don't think it could possibly make matters worse.
In all seriousness, losing four straight, while not good, is not the end of the world. Had this happened in June, my only reaction would have been to change the channel to NCIS: LA and just eat a little bit more cheese while admiring LL Cool J's abs. There may have been one or two tears, but I could have easily blamed that on Cool J. And while I understand everyone's angst, I think it's time we all drink a shot of Jager, eat way too much beef and stop worrying so much.
Unless, of course, the Sox lose tonight...Then, it's definitely panic time!
I'll be back Friday to report on the Yankees, who, I'd like to remind you all, also lost last night. Not that that really matters...