|Closing Time: Blue Jays 16, Red Sox 2||08.20.10 at 10:17 pm ET|
Well, that might be finally it for the 2010 Red Sox.
So many times this season, observers have written the team off when they suffered injury after debilitating injury and had bullpen meltdowns that left everyone scratching their heads.
But Friday, like when the outcome of a court case becomes obvious because of overwhelming evidence, Friday night’s 16-2 debacle at the hands of the Blue Jays is exhibit A as to why these Red Sox are pretty much toast as far as a playoff contender.
True, there’s five weeks left and stranger things have happened but with Dustin Pedroia going back on the disabled list before Friday’s nightmare with the Blue Jays with a foot that he admits is still hurting him badly, there seems to be little energy left to give.
And then there’s the troubling case of Jon Lester. He came out Friday and had the worst outing of his career, allowing eight hits and a career-worst nine runs and couldn’t get an out in the third before being yanked for Scott Atchison. He allowed two homers to Lyle Overbay, walked three and struck out just one.
[Click here to listen to Jon Lester talk about his rough night.]
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE RED SOX:
Jon Lester continues to look alarmingly hittable. Never before had the left-hander looked so ordinary. The only other start that compares to Friday came on May 9, 2009 against Tampa Bay when the Rays beat Lester and the Red Sox, 14-5. That night he allowed 10 hits and eight runs. But he recovered the rest of the season to post a 15-8 record with a 3.41 ERA. After 14 1/3 innings of shutout pitching against the Yankees and Rangers, two great-hitting teams, Lester seemed to be back on track since losing his first four starts after the All-Star break.
But when Fred Lewis walked and Yunel Escobar reached on a bunt single, even the outs were loud, that is when Lester could record them.
And maybe worst of all, Lester couldn’t stabilize himself after giving up five in the first. Normally, Lester is capable of settling down and giving the team innings. He couldn’t even do that Friday as he lasted just 51 pitches before the Red Sox bullpen was called upon.
Lyle Overbay. Goes without saying that if an opponent has two home 3-run homers and drives in a career-high seven, you’re probably into the bullpen earlier than you want.
John McDonald and John Buck: McDonald, the pride of Providence College, went 3-for-5 with with a 3-run homer off Michael Bowden in the sixth. Buck picked the right night to come off the disabled list. He, like Overbay, had four hits and scored four times.
The Red Sox didn’t show Dustin Pedroia much of a reason to hurry back. It was announced before the game that the gritty second baseman was going back on the DL because his broken left foot hadn’t healed completely and was hurting too much.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE RED SOX:
The kids are alright. Starting with Yamaico Navarro, a lot of back-ups and call-ups got their chance to give the vets a night off and showed they cared. Navarro, taking Pedroia’s roster spot, borrowed a page from Daniel Nava, swinging at the first pitch he saw in the majors. While it wasn’t a grand slam or even a homer, it was a sharp single to left, joining Nava and Ryan Kalish as Red Sox rookies to produce a hit in their first MLB at-bats this season.
Terry Francona got one wish. The Red Sox manager said before the game he’d like to get a look at Jed Lowrie at first base to see if he might be able to provide some versatility to a roster that could use some with Pedroia joining Kevin Youkilis and Jacoby Ellsbury on the disabled list. Beginning with the fifth inning, Lowrie moved to first base and handled every chance smoothly.
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