This isn’t the situation the 2012 Red Sox were supposed to be in entering the season. With now just over 50 games remaining and a subpar record, every game appears to be a must win game to have any hopes of the postseason. Frustrating to say the least and it came as no surprise when Dustin Pedroia was ejected in the ninth inning in the Red Sox 6-3 loss to the Rangers.
Pedroia has struggled this season when you compare his numbers to those of his career. Injuries have played a major part of that and Pedey is also not used to losing, something he has never really experienced during his Red Sox tenure. So when he was called out on a disputable checked swing call by the first base umpire and Pedroia continued his bantering in the ninth inning, he was clearly frustrated with more than the call and needed to vent.
Some might say he embarrassed himself as it was only the second ejection of his career. Some might say he embarrassed the Red Sox even further in what has been a circus like atmosphere in and around the club, right from the outset of Spring Training. Or you could say he was showing his frustration, something that everyone at the Sox club is sure to be feeling. In a sense you could argue that Pedroia took one for the team, taking the spotlight away from what was another heartbreaking loss for starter Jon Lester and a loss that once again sends the Sox below the .500 level. A stat that will only fuel the headlines and snickering from around baseball from the people that love to hate on the Red Sox.
Much has been made of Pedroia’s leadership or lack there of this season, a debate for another day. While I won’t sit here and condone what he did or how he did it, I will say that I understand as to why he did it. Perhaps he was showing his teammates that he does care and he’ll take the lead in expressing to the umpires (who had a rough night) that in a game so critical to the Sox season, they won’t roll over and be abused.
Jon Lester was brilliant for the first five innings, allowing two hits and keeping the Rangers powerful offense at bay. The problem was the Red Sox could not muster much against Ryan Dempster who started for Texas as he kept it a scoreless game entering the sixth inning.
The next two frames were a little rough for the Red Sox lefty. He’d surrender four more hits and four earned runs, but still left an impressive outing on the mound despite being saddled with the loss that sees his record drop to a jaw dropping 5-10 on the year. His last two performances, Lester has not been rewarded for fine outings and he, like so many others are clearly frustrated. Something to build on? Sure it is, but he needs a few bounces to go his way to keep his confidence where he needs it to be in order to excel at this level.
The offense was dormant for most of the night, with the exception of the seventh inning when Will Middlebrooks pinch hit for Nick Punto and the kid did not disappoint. With two men on, Middlebrooks roped a frozen line to left, a call that would be reviewed and would stand, giving the rookie third baseman his 14th homer of the year.
That is as close as the Sox would come when the bullpen surrendered two more runs, both singles in the eighth and ninth, capping off an extremely frustrating night of baseball.
With the day game on Wednesday and the rubber match of the series, is it too soon to start calling it a must win?