Sox continue their west coast slide into irrelevance
The Red Sox are now eight games out of first place in the AL East and five games out of a playoff spot after losing two very winable games to the Mariners in Seattle over the weekend. On Saturday, Jon Lester was pitching great until Eric Patterson — Eric Patterson?!? — dropped a fly ball in center field. It’s only speculation, but it seems probable that Lester would have kept going smoothly had Patterson been able to make that play. But after the botched fielding, the Mariners scored five runs to beat the Sox 5-1. Yesterday, Dice-K pitched well-enough for the Sox, holding the Mariners to one run over six innings. Then a bad fielding play by Hideki Okajima allowed the winning runs to score.
This was a team built around defense, but bad fielding continues to be its bane. It doesn’t help that the offense, other than Kevin Youkilis, has been AWOL. This isn’t particularly surprising given the bats which remain sidelined for the Sox (Dustin Pedroia, Victor Martinez and Jacoby Ellsbury). Which is all the more reason the defense needs to be its sharpest.
The Sox open a three-game set with the Los Angeles Angels of Biloxi or whatever they’re called, in whatever city in which the Angels play their games. The Angels just got themselves another arm in Dan Harren. It will be interesting to see if the Angels feel a boost from that acquisition, or if the imminent return of Victor Martinez to the Sox batting order (possibly as early as tonight) gives the Sox a jolt. But even if it does, it may be too little too late. This is where the dithering of Theo Epstein has cost his team. They needed an outfielder with a bat but didn’t get one, thus Eric Patterson playing center field. They needed to bolster the bullpen, but they’ve shied away from any deals to do so, thus Okajima keeps blowing games. By the time the trading deadline arrives on Friday, the writing may already be on the Green Monster — which may make the Red Sox sellers instead of buyers for the first time in many seasons. Perhaps this is for the best, but we’ll never know how good this team might have been with a little help from the front office.