What’s the difference between pretending and contending teams in Major League Baseball? The contenders win games they should and put teams away when given the chance. That is precisely what the Red Sox did not do last night when they squandered a 5-1 lead to the lowly Minnesota Twins to lose 6-5 and fall back below .500 for the umpteenth time this season. One word describes the loss; unacceptable. And this team certainly has the feel of a pretending ball club with every disappointing loss that occurs on any given night.
There have been bright spots this season that gave us hope that maybe this club is on the verge of turning things around. After a miserable start to the last road trip the Red Sox take two of three from the Evil Empire in the Bronx, something that very few people saw coming.
Then they return home and take two of three from the Detroit Tigers, a team many thought would walk away with the Central division but find themselves under performing, much like their Boston foes.
The Sox entered the four game set against the Twins just 3.5 games back in the Wild Card hunt and very much alive and well after winning the last two series. And with the bottom feeding Twins in town, surely three of four would be possible for the Red Sox. Now, they’ll have to try and salvage a split.
The reaction on Twitter immediately following the game last night was a mood that Debbie Downer would be proud of. Reactions such as “what a rotten game” and “stick a fork in them.” Others weren’t so polite using rated R words that are best not repeating. Other reactions included “everyone on waivers tomorrow, Ben” and “time to start thinking about draft position.” This is a fan base on the edge of the cliff and ready to jump given their devotion to this club, only to be disappointed as one wrote on Twitter “just when they build you, they tear you down.” Well said.
But the Sox had chances to win the game. Not only did they get out to a 5-1 start, they had the bases loaded in the eighth with only one out. Jacoby Ellsbury struck out and Dustin Pedroia flied out to right. Wait, what? Both Ellsbury and Pedroia failed to bring in what would have been the winning run? Yes, sadly both players who have been so dominant in their careers in those late game spots could not come through when needed.
Then again in the ninth after two lumbering bats of Cody Ross and Adrian Gonzalez failed to get on base, the kid Ryan Lavarnway doubled off the Monster to again give the Fenway Faithful hope that maybe their club could salvage this game. With Will Middlebrooks at the dish, I for one envisioned a long double off the wall in left to score the winning run. Cue the shredder, Nick Punto when Middlebrooks reaches home. Sadly I was left to wonder what could have been when the rookie grounded out to third.
After the Twins scored in the top half of the tenth, the Sox went away quietly in the bottom, handing the game to the Twins in what was as heartbreaking loss as one can recall in recent memory. For whatever reason, this club just doesn’t have that killer instinct. Some blame the manager, some blame the players or the owners. Some blame the players for blaming the manager. Either way you cut it, this club is below .500 and appear to be a hovering .500 club for the season until proven otherwise. This latest loss confirms that.