The Red Sox are returning home from a west coast trip that was less successful than Caddyshack 2. They lost five out of their seven games to the two worst teams in the AL West: the A's and the Mariners.
The Red Sox offense mustered 14 runs in those seven games and were shut out once, albeit by Felix Hernandez. They lost three games in walk-off fashion, with two of those coming with closer Alfredo Aceves on the mound (a real confidence booster… is Andrew Bailey even a real person?).
The Red Sox now sit at 42-40, and they welcome the first place Yankees into town on Friday for a four game series (including a double-header on Saturday). The Yankees currently sit 7.5 games ahead of the Red Sox, and are no doubt beginning to lift their boot to rest it on the neck of Boston's local nine, ready to push down slowly.
Some big problems were exposed during the trip out west. First off, close games seem to be an issue for this team, as they are just 9-11 in one-run games, though four of those just came out west.
However, that record just scratches the surface. The big problem is how this team responds in games that are decided by 2, 3, or 4 runs. The Sox have participated in 37 games decided by that margin. Take a quick guess as to how many of those 37 games they have won.
Take a minute.
They have gone just 16-21 in those games, and that record needs to improve if they're to have any real chance of competing this year. If you combine the one-run games with the 2-4 run margin games, it puts them at 25-32 in games decided by 5 runs or less (Last September, the Sox went 1-7 in one-run games, putting them at 10-18 in their last 28 one-run games).
That is abysmal.
On the bright side, this team loves to blow teams out. The Red Sox have climbed back above .500 using their proficiency in games decided by 5+ runs, in which they are an impressive 17-6.
What does this tell us about the Red Sox? They are front-runners, plain and simple. And that poor record in close games reflects on their leadership.
Boston sports fans love to kill guys like LeBron and A-Rod. They preen and pose when things go well, and cower when the going gets tough. This Sox team has the same feel.
Boston sports fans love to kill guys like LeBron and A-Rod. They can’t step up in the clutch (prior to the 2012 NBA Finals), they preen and pose when things go well, and cower when the going gets tough. This Sox team has the same feel (see: David Ortiz and his contract woes. He always seems to complain and speak up when the team is winning). Their 1-5 record in extra inning games also shows their lack of clutch baseball ability.
The Sox have also blown 16 leads, while coming from behind 18 times. Compare that to the Yankees, who have 25 comeback wins and have blown only 12 leads (their closer is hurt too, and I know that Mariano Rivera actually exists). I don't know if it's a coincidence, but the difference between 25 and 18 is seven. The difference between the Sox and Yankees in the standings happens to be 7.5 games.
The Red Sox season is on the precipice, and it's not even the All-Star break. If they lose three or four games to the Yankees this weekend they will find themselves 9.5 or 11.5 games out of first place. If they can steal 3 or 4 they go into the All-Star break feeling good and only 3.5 or 7.5 games out of first.
As the season turns towards the dog days of summer, this Sox team has a lot of questions to answer. Can they figure out how to win close games? Are their top shelf pitchers going to prove their worth or continue their inconsistency? Will Adrian Gonzalez get his power back? Will the talent earn its money?
The last three months need to be won by the stars on this team: Ortiz, Pedroia, Gonzalez, Beckett, Lester, Buchholtz, Crawford (??), and Ellsbury.
May and June were great because it brought us new blood and some fun times. Daniel Nava, Ryan Kalish, Franklin Morales, and Felix Dubront did a fantastic job keeping this team's head above water. They deserve huge credit for that.
Now it's time for the stars to shine, win close games dominate the second-half, and have a chance at a playoff berth.
Fan Hub Action
Michael T Carr May 16th
Another good article, Craig Lowell.
Charlie Lobosco May 1st
This is a very compelling story because Mr. Collins is a very passionate, tough, intelligent, athelete taking on some additional responsibliity to help others as…
Scott Cohen May 1st
Charlie.. very well said.. he does have guts
Scott Cohen May 1st
but it shouldn’t require guts. .like you said it’s nobody’s business but his own
Hisham Zameeth April 30th
best player ever…..
Kareem Musa Mayowa April 29th
We don’t need to be hopeless about the situation bryant his. Because even david villa situation also up to the level of his own to…
Maritess Lim April 28th
I still believe in KOBE’s power…… He is still the best…… He will make it possible no matter what……
mimi_aragon84 April 28th
I feel no pity for him. First of all, it is EAGLE, COLORADO, not Eagleton, secondly he enjoyed success and adulation from fans from 2003…
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