We are moments away from the first pitch of the final game in this New York Yankees series and if you are stuck at work, unable to get away to watch the game … are you really even that upset about it?
The optimists here in Boston would probably tell you that today is a do-or-die scenario for the Sox. With Tampa Bay losing their fifth straight yesterday, a few wins against NY could adjust the standings in the division enough for some last minute momentum. That is, however, if the Red Sox can get out of their own way. Last night, they could not.
Boston needed greatness out of Beckett, who had been looking strong since his return from the DL. Instead, he gave up seven runs in 4 2/3 innings and raised his already piss-poor ERA from 5.95 to a dismal 6.21. Of course, last night’s 7-2 loss cannot be blamed on pitching alone. Typically reliable sluggers went dormant and a nonexistent defense was riddled with errors.
Pessimists – and probably most realists – would argue that it is too late to ride a wave of momentum into the post-season. Last night’s loss to the Yanks dropped the Sox to 7 back in the division (and 2.5 behind second place Tampa Bay). In the Wildcard standings, Boston is now tied for second with Minnesota at 4.5 games back.
It’s not that Boston hasn’t had a lot to overcome – 19 players on the DL this season (including 9 All-Stars and 6 Opening Day starters) – but it all cannot be blamed on injuries. This season has been marred by countless blown opportunities. Case in point: last night’s pitching match-up. A.J. Burnett was scratched at the last minute because of back spasms and replaced by a no-name RHP named Dustin Mosely. Instead of being destroyed at the plate, he held the Sox to two runs in 6.1 innings. That is just one example but the list could go on and on.
Today is Lester’s turn for greatness as he must try and salvage the remainder of the season. Unfortunately, in his past four starts Lester has gone 0-4 (with a 4.59 ERA), which is a career high streak for the Sox ace. A win today would mark the first for Lester since the All-Star break.
Maybe, just maybe, a win today could mark the beginning of an upswing for Boston but I think I’m sticking with the pessimists on this one.