After the 21-2 pounding that the Los Angeles Angels just dished out in Fenway Park, the Boston Red Sox fans want heads to roll. That’s not going to help.
Firing Boston’s manager John Farrell may feel good to Red Sox Nation right about now, but losing so badly to one of the worst teams in the American League means that there are no quick fixes to the problem. If anything, it looks more like the Red Sox have been overachieving for much of this season.
Last night was the moment when the mirage finally evaporated, as if fear dried out the winning atmosphere that the Red Sox have enjoyed since April. Even by still being six games above .500, this game had everything in it to suggest that it is not out of the question for Boston getting reacquainted with the division cellar, which has been their home for two straight seasons.
The Red Sox committed four errors, two throwing errors by Travis Shaw while Bryce Bentz and Xander Bogaerts each had a fielding error. Between the third baseman Shaw and the shortstop Bogaerts, they have 20 errors this season, and we haven’t even made it to the All-Star Break yet.
With that in mind, can people actually believe with the Angels scoring 21 runs that only three were charged to Clay Buchholz, the way that he’s been throwing on the mound lately? In the loss, Buchholz allowed only three earned runs, six in total, on seven hits, one walk, and one strikeout in 4.1 innings of work. The two home runs drilled off of him are what knocked him out of the game, but the errors had a lot to do with him still stuck in innings, instead of prolonging the agony.
The bullpen didn’t fare much better. In fact, they were even worse. At least Heath Hembree can say that he fell victim to the errors as well, allowing three runs, none earned, on three hits, one walk, and two strikeouts in 1.2 innings. The same could not be said for Robbie Ross Jr. and Pat Light. Ross only lasted for one out while giving up six earned runs on five hits. Light lasted just under two innings and gave up six runs, five earned, on five hits, including two home runs to match Boston’s starter.
Only Ryan LaMarre, officially declared a center fielder, was able to escape the onslaught without a mark against him. He blanked the Angels, only allowing two hits in one full inning of work, and it only took him 12 pitches to do it.
Offensively, the Red Sox looked just as inept. Other than Mookie Betts and Hanley Ramirez, the bats were silent. Betts, under other circumstances, would have considered the game a good night for him, going 3-for-5 with an RBI and two runs scored. Ramirez did everything that he could as well, going 2-for-2 with a walk; however, for his troubles, he was replaced by Marco Hernandez who then played third base while Shaw was moved to first in the top of the eighth inning.
Boston went 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position, leaving 10 men on base.
To put perspective on how bad Farrell must have thought the night was going, he brought in Sandy Leon, who has had a hot bat lately but also came back to catch from the minors recently as well, to pinch hit for David Ortiz, the face of the franchise. When you take out possibly the greatest designated hitter to ever play the game, who is hitting .338 for the season, for a guy who didn’t even crack the starting roster in April, how can anyone not think that you’re waving the white flag in defeat?
The Angels walked into the cathedral of Boston and vandalized the ball, the fences, and the hearts of every member of the Fenway faithful, last night. The Red Sox allowed it to happen as much as the Angels tried to make it happen. How can Farrell honestly say that he’s concentrating on winning and not the possibility of losing his job when his players barely did anything to stem the tide that washed all over Boston?
Nobody, not the fans nor the media, can ever know what real leadership Farrell brings to the Red Sox behind closed doors, but the culture in Boston on the field seems to be pretty dysfunctional. It’s great that the players seem to get along well enough, but the disconnect between them, their manager, and their ability to right the ship with any passion or stoicism is creating a cloud of cynicism and derision over their heads.
All that fans have been seeing on the players’ faces, especially last night, is the same grimace that’s been on Farrell’s face every time something bad happens. Bench-clearing brawls or embarrassing arguments with umpires isn’t necessarily the answer, but it would at least show that the manager cares and has the players’ backs. Farrell doesn’t have to be that kind of manager; however, he does need to start helping to change how the players react to mistakes. They look more depressed than a high school kid flunking his exam or breaking up with his girlfriend and then running into his room, shutting the door, pulling the curtains closed, and listening to scream-o music for the rest of what seems to be his natural-born life.
With all of that said, with the starting rotation and the bullpen and the bats looking lifeless, where does one begin? Firing one man will not change anything. The culture needs to change, and soon. How does that happen? Tough to say. Right now, the Red Sox look desperate for any kind of change, before they end up exactly where they’ve been since 2014: last place.