A Major League Baseball season is 162 games long. For many fans, that’s exactly why we love it so much. The grinding nature of the season and the natural storylines that unfold let us enjoy a wide range of emotions, from joy to sadness to anger to relief and everything in between.
The Red Sox have made us feel sadness and anger many times this season. There have been a few moments of joy as well, and every once in a while, the sensation of relief.
But if you watched Sunday’s pathetic excuse for a professional competition, you experienced a different emotion: embarrassment. The Red Sox got their asses handed to them in every facet of the game yesterday. The pitching was bad. The offense was so-so. The defense was laughable. And for the first time in quite some time, it made baseball no fun to watch.
At this point, if you like the Red Sox enough to read sites like this one, you’ve made peace with the fact that you’re not rooting for a good team this year. They’re probably not *this* bad, sure, but I’m not sure they’re much better than a .500 club. I certainly don’t think they’ll play ball at the .600% clip they’d need to to reach the playoffs.
Usually, that’s ok. We can watch Xander Bogaerts grow up and Mookie Betts learn and Eduardo Rodriguez and Good Clay Buchholz pitch and David Ortiz go out with a bang, and we can take solace in the fact that there are at least individual components to this team worth watching and rooting for.
Right now, it’s hard to feel that way. Right now, the Red Sox do not feel worthy of our devotion. And while the answer likely isn’t firing John Farrell and almost certainly isn’t firing Ben Cherington, one can understand why so many fans are calling for a change: not because they truly expect things to get better, but because at this point, how could it get worse?
That’s a melodramatic opening to a game recap if I’ve ever seen one, and to fans of teams who haven’t won three World Series in the past 11 years, it probably looks laughable. But that’s how this Red Sox fan feels, at least, after watching a game I planned my Sunday around.
I don’t think I’ll be planning many days or activities around the Red Sox anymore.*
Top Play (WPA): Ryan Goins’ three-run bomb off of Eduardo Rodriguez in the top of the fourth (.121) gets the nod here. Rodriguez’s defense did no favors behind him, but he also just didn’t have it yesterday, with a useless slider and poor control dooming him from the start.
Still, because Rodriguez has been so, so good in his first three starts, there was a part of you that hoped he’d find a way to gut through the start and hold the Jays to three runs over six innings or something. Goins essentially pulled a Roose Bolton at the Red Wedding with this bomb instead, stabbing us right in the heart and taking away the one thing most Sox fans truly had to look forward to this weekend: #Ed.
The next three top plays all belonged to the Jays as well. Shocking.
Bottom Play (WPA): This really wasn’t fair. The Red Sox loaded the bases in the bottom of the first and with one out Xander Bogaerts came to the plate. Bogaerts drilled a pitch … right into Josh Donaldson’s glove, who was able to turn Bogaerts’ liner into a double-play, ending the threat and effectively serving as a microcosm of this season. You sort of knew right then and there that this would be One Of Those Games.
The two next-worst plays actually belong to the Blue Jays, but — and I mean this with all due respect to WPA — who cares?
Key Moment: Probably Goins’ homer, but there were plenty of awful moments from which to choose.
Trend to Watch: Red Sox players apparently cannot function when they must look at the sun.
Coming Next: The Braves, who were supposed to be much worse than the Red Sox and are instead much better than the Red Sox.
*Who am I kidding? If I could stop, I would’ve by now.
Photo by Gregory J. Fisher/USA Today Sports Images