By Matt StraubOur State of the Red Sox column is back for its fourth installment with momentum lost and a designated hitter shutting down the Boston bats in a 17-inning loss to end the week. As always, we want to hear what you have to say about your favorite (or least favorite) team below in the comments section. And check back next week for the latest from the Red Sox right here.
Opening StatementThe Red Sox came into the week soaring. They were also coming home for a week’s worth of games at friendly Fenway against what was supposed to be inferior competition in Oakland and a Baltimore squad which was owed a beating by what should have been an angry bunch of Bostonians after the way 2011 ended. What the homestand ended up being, however, was a stretch of games that just got more disappointing as the days went on.
|Darnell McDonald had to pitch the 17th inning. (AP photo)|
The High Point
Boston’s bats exploded for 11 runs Monday in a victory over Oakland. The game was fairly non-descript, the type that would never be mentioned again if not for the fact that the Red Sox then went 0-for-the-week and there wasn’t anything else to write about. I could point out Will Middlebrooks hitting his first home run Sunday, a grand slam, but that’s about it.
The Low Point
How about everything else that happened this week? A lifeless effort on offense, including a long stretch without so much as a single home run. A pitching staff in shambles that required roster move after roster move just to keep fresh arms on the team. Boston’s starters can’t get deep into games these days, and the bullpen is exhausted from the effort it is being asked to give every night. That was evident Sunday, when seven Red Sox relievers (all they have) threw 12 scoreless innings before running out of steam. Boston’s offense couldn’t pick the bunch up, however, and outfielder Darnell McDonald pitched the 17th. Let’s just say it ended badly. If I must pick one, however, let’s go with Saturday afternoon. Aaron Cook made his first start of the year in place of the injured Josh Beckett. He had his knee ripped open by a cleat in the first, and bravely went to go get it bandaged up so he could stay in the game, apparently in an effort to impress his new teammates. He should have just gotten it stitched up right away, however, since he got shelled in the next two innings, during which he said his leg went numb.
|Will Middlebrooks is a bright spot for the Red Sox. (AP photo)|
Will Middlebrooks: He has looked comfortable since arriving in Boston. His homer Sunday hopefully is a sign he has arrived, and that the Red Sox have their third baseman of the future. He looks like a big-leaguer.
Scott Atchison: Yes, a middle reliever. He has been effective and has given the Red Sox desperately needed innings in a thankless role.
Andrew Miller: He pitched well in his debut out of the bullpen Sunday. Here’s hoping he can get his once-promising career on track. The Red Sox certainly can use any help they can get.
Clay Buchholz. The bloom is off the rose. The no-hit kid hasn’t shown much of the promise he did early in his career over the last two seasons. I no longer fear that he just really isn’t good. I’m now certain he was overrated.
Adrian Gonzalez: I believe he will be fine, I really do. But to this point he his hitting just .264 and is way too quiet to become any kind of real leader on a team desperate for someone to step up and carry it on their back for a week or two. Sunday, he struck out against Baltimore’s Chris Davis, a DH throwing in the 80s, while representing the tying run in the 17th inning.
Ben Cherington: Or Larry Lucchino. Whoever is really running the Red Sox is just standing by and watching the team burn. How long will they wait to make a move?
A trip to Kansas City, which hadn’t won a home game this season before getting the ship righted against the Yankees, then a homestand against Cleveland and Seattle. The schedule gets much tougher after this week, so the Red Sox simply must find a way to keep within shouting distance in the AL East this week. If this week goes badly, it wouldn’t shock me to start seeing changes. I can’t believe the Red Sox will let this season get away. If next week goes badly, this post could turn into a game of "who must go."