I think I may have reached the point where I just gotta close my eyes and make the leap of faith that John Farrell — or whoever’s pulling the strings at Red Sox HQ knows what their doing. Because when I woke up this morning, I had some spring in my step, a little vodka on my Cheerios, and a heart full of optimism that today would be the day the Sox completed their first sweep of the 2014 season and finally got back to .500.
And why shouldn’t I feel that way? The Sox bats seemed to have finally been resuscitated. We had our full line-up back. Toronto had knuckleballer R.A. Dickey on the hill–a pitcher the Sox have owned the last couple times we faced him. This was gonna be the king of Sundays, man, and I had a fridge full of meat and beer to back me up.
But then… I saw the line-up Farrell was putting out there. David Ortiz, our home run leader and chief offensive weapon? Out. Shane Victorino, who we just got back in the line-up a couple days ago? Out. We also had both catchers, Pierzynski at DH and Ross, in the line-up, for reasons I couldn’t quite figure. I guess it’s a case of “riding the hot hand” after AJ’s grand slam on Saturday, but I would have figured Mike Carp to be the more obvious choice for DH.
For Ortiz, I understand the whole “give the guy a rest/it’s artificial turf” argument. But with an off day looming, why not all hands on deck to get the win, complete the sweep, and ride the positive vibes into what promises to be an important series with a hated AL East rival who’s looking for revenge after last year’s ALDS?
Oddly, for all my bitching, Farrell’s strategy seemed to work for a while. The Sox hung in there, down 2-1, until the seventh. But the big hit we needed never seemed to come. The Sox let a couple of chances to score fall through their fingers, none more infuriating than the top of the seventh, when we had runners on second and third and one out, and Jackie Bradley fouled out weakly, unable to even lob a deep fly ball to get the tying run home.
Would Ortiz’s bat have made a difference? F$%ked if I know. But I’m gonna just go out on a limb and assume, “yes.” Also, I don’t care how much he’s dealing, you don’t let your offense get shut down by a guy named “Dickey.”
Beyond the bats, Lester was good but not great, giving up just five hits and striking out seven through seven. Errors hurt us again, with the wheels coming off the wagon in the eighth, when Ross misplayed what could have been easy pop out and Bogaerts flubbed a potential double play ball, opening the door for three more Toronto runs.
After two wins and what seemed to be the return of some of that 2013 fire power, today’s loss was a dispiriting step backward. Once again, we were on the precipice of .500, only to be knocked back down. Sure, it’s only April. But a loss here carries just as much weight as one in September. Just ask your grandfather.