By Andy Lindberg
The Boston Red Sox suck spectacularly. A day after being shut out by Detroit 10-0, the Red Sox came back with a furious vengeance and scored 12 runs on April 8.
The only problem was Detroit scored 13.
Last year I distinctly remember saying April was too early to push the panic button. The Red Sox would be ok. For a while, the Red Sox were ok. They were better than ok. For about four months, the 2011 Red Sox were the best team in baseball until September, when they were the worst.
The 2012 Red Sox seem to have liked the 2011 September suckers. Twice on Easter Sunday, 2012, the Red Sox bullpen gave up leads. Alfredo Aceves could not record an out in the bottom of the ninth with a three-run lead, blowing the save with a Miguel Cabrera big fly. After saying on Friday he felt the hook came too quickly, Mark Melancon, out to redeem himself, gave up a walk-off home run to Detroit catcher Alex Avila, who provided the hook for him so Bobby Valentine wouldn’t have to bother walking out to the mound.
How generous of you, Mr. Avila.
The Red Sox cannot win with pitching like this. I’ve seen enough. Boston fans have seen enough. Stick a fork in them. They’re done three games into the season. The loss of Andrew Bailey has seemingly turned into the loss of this season. Our former All-Star closer-in-waiting has become a starting pitcher in Daniel Bard. In the chess game that is pitching matchups and bullpen pieces, the Red Sox have knocked over their king. The Red Sox have yet again started the season by being swept by a good team, a team Boston desperately needed to beat. The only bright spot in the pitching came in the Opener, when Jon Lester pitched seven innings of one-run ball, only to have the misfortune of being matched up against Justin Verlander. When Boston came back and tied the game off of Jose Valverde in the ninth, Melancon came in during the bottom half of the same inning, allowed two base-runners, yielded the ball to Aceves, and saw Austin Jackson hit a walk-off single.
I’m as sick of writing about them as you are of reading about them. This week Boston plays three games at Toronto and then come back to Fenway for four games against Tampa Bay, who just lit up the New York Yankees, sweeping the Bombers to start the year.
And on a side note, I hate saying this, but part of me hopes Bard gets lit up in his first two starts or so and runs to Valentine, begging Bobby V to insert him into the bullpen as Boston’s closer in Bailey’s absence.
The sharp swagger we’ve been used to seeing from the Red Sox pitching staff is gone, faded and sanded like the edges of ancient sea-glass on a beach. Now all Sox fans can do is hope one day management wakes up and realizes the team is lost in these huge-market signings, and will once again stock up the farm system to the glorious system that produced so many All Stars earlier in the decade. I love the Red Sox with every ounce of my being, but Sox fans are watching the beginnings of a massacre in Boston right now, and there’s still 159 more games to go…