Boston Red Sox: Looking a lot like 2011 collapse all over again
The Boston Red Sox are attempting to match 2011 collapse
The Red Sox are beginning to look like their 2011 predecessors, as August has not been a delightful beginning for the final push to the playoffs. Will there be special discounts at Fenway Park for beer and chicken? A pleasant remembrance touch for one of the most dreadful collapses in baseball history.
The collapse was both historical and if you are a fan of the Yankees – hysterical. Boston blew a nine-game Wild Card lead in September, went 7-20, saw their pitching vaporize, and manager Terry Francona becoming a shell of his former managerial abilities.
Older fans such as myself did find a rare nugget of positivity in this ignominious failure – at least they were in a position to collapse. For decades the Red Sox was synonymous with the term “also-ran.” Never good enough to fail until 1967 changed that.
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Some may wish to point to 1978’s collapse. That became a half-season-long slide – waterboard-type torture. Not the quick September train wreck of 2011. A quick baseball death or a long and arduous one? Either way, the result is bitter fruit.
In 2011 and 2021, the similarity is usually where baseball failure takes place – pitching. High expectations disappear with an all too often performance that resembles batting practice for the 1927 Yankees. In pitching camaraderie, both rotation and bullpen practice diligent one-upmanship in contributing to the malaise.
Before the season started, the Red Sox had assembled a staff with question mark concerns. Unfortunately, many of the negative aspects have been on display on a far too regular basis. The last vestige of hope is a return of Chris Sale as a “stopper.”
The beauty of baseball is all is not lost – yet. A five-game winning streak can abruptly alter the dynamics as rapidly as a five-game skid. Manager Alex Cora is not Francona dealing with overwhelming personal issues.
Cora’s task is to invigorate his charges from the listless lethargy that is all too apparent. The Red Sox have lost their way in the post-All-Star venture. A group failure on the individual and, therefore, the collective. Can Mike Napoli or Jonny Gomes make an appearance? A minor threat of muscle or an emotional jolt is a possible need.
Management is a crucial ingredient to the morass that the Red Sox have become. The most critical need was – alas and no surprise – pitching. Chaim Bloom’s shopping results were pure yard sales, and it shows. The Red Sox division rivals improved addressing weaknesses and the Red Sox did not.
Cora’s work, the rest of the season, will be a challenge. Boston was projected to be a .500 club, and it is now showing just that. Can Cora motivate, make the correct choices, and squeeze wins where none may appear?
The Yankees, Rays, and Jays are reloaded sharks, and the Red Sox are bloody fish. The sense the weakness and it has shown. The chances of Boston making the playoffs shrink even further with each painful and embarrassing loss. Cora will have to prevent the ship from sinking. Good luck, Captain Cora, as Admiral Bloom has given you no pumps.