J.D. Drew hit a home run Sunday afternoon.
While I'd usually make some sort of snarky comment about how difficult it is to hit balls out of the park without the use of a human heart, that turn of events this time instead brought home the reality of how upside down this season has been so far in Boston.
J.D. Drew has been the Red Sox's most durable outfielder.
Think about that phrase for a moment. Those are 11 words I never thought I'd write—assuming you count J and D as two words. (The initials must stand for something. Given his propensity for taking called third strikes, perhaps it's Just Daydreaming.)
Having Drew as the most durable anything on your team is something like having JaMarcus Russell be your most accurate quarterback or Sarah Palin as your smartest politician.
It means bad things are happening. Very, very bad things.
But wait, there's more. Consider the following:
After years of begging management to shuffle Jason Varitek into the backup role everyone was pleading for, he's emerged as Boston's best backstop. Darnell McDonald has played more games in center field than Mike Cameron, who displaced Jacoby Ellsbury, who has been out almost a month. Jon Lester and Josh Beckett have yet to put together dominant outings in the same week.
It feels like Adrian Beltre leads all players—Major Leagues and Little League—in errors, and Cameron bungled a few chances before kidney stones sidelined him. Two of the best defensive players in all of baseball have combined to muddy scorebooks all over Red Sox Nation.
David Ortiz? Please leave a message; nobody's seen him since last summer. Jonathan Papelbon? He must be hanging out with Ortiz somewhere. Have they perhaps made cameos on the final season of Lost ?
Tying everything up in a nice little bow, the Red Sox went ahead and got swept by the Baltimore Orioles—a team whose 25-man roster is about as anonymous as anyone's—this weekend.
I keep trying to tell myself it can't possibly be this bad for long. But we're more than 20 games in. That's no longer a tiny sample size. That's now filed with the court as official evidence.
I continue to hold out hope that Victor Martinez can channel his inner Victor Martinez and start producing again. Maybe Ellsbury can come back and move Marco Scutaro back to the bottom of the order, creating a more threatening lineup. And Lester, John Lackey, and Beckett have to unify their hot streaks at some point, don't they?
A week and a half ago, I would have said yes, definitely. But now, put me down for an "I hope so." It's far too early to throw in the towel, indeed, but performances like the one this weekend have me at least reaching for it.
There's admittedly little to latch on to thus far. The players are getting frustrated, Theo Epstein's getting cranky, and nobody appears poised to grab the bull by the horns. I thought for a fleeting moment last week that Clay Buchholz and Lester had stabilized the ship with back-to-back dominant outings, but things crumbled faster than a Drake's Coffee Cake in Newman's sweaty hands.
They're up. Then they're down. Mostly down, though.
I'll keep holding out hope for more up. Anaheim and New York come storming through Fenway this week, setting up the perfect opportunity to rewrite the script and pen a happier storyline.
Or continue the next paragraph of an early obituary.
At this point, your guess is as good as mine.