Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Can the Red Sox Hold On?

After falling 7-5 tonight to the Orioles, the Red Sox have now lost two of three games so far in the current series and they are now 5-15 in the month of September.  This is the same team that, after starting 0-6, rolled through the middle months of the season.  The Sox looked like possibly the best team in the American League, a title that absolutely no one would reward them with now.  With only seven games remaining, Boston could become the laughing stock of baseball.  Former Boston pitcher Curt Schilling even publicly stated "I don't think they're going to make it."

So why have things gone so wrong?  The list of problems is too long for a team with such a high payroll.  Third baseman Kevin Youkilis is injured.  Left fielder Carl Crawford has underachieved all season.  John Lackey may actually be the single worst starter in baseball (He's lucky the Sox have scored enough runs to get him 12 wins).  Injuries have forced the Sox to start Tim Wakefield 22 times, Andrew Miller 12 times, and Kyle Weiland five times.  Ace Jon Lester hasn't been great down the stretch and neither has set-up man Daniel Bard, who was stellar for a long stretch earlier in the season.  There's more reasons, but you pretty much get the point.  For a team with such high expectations, this would be a classic pre-2004 Red Sox collapse.

With only seven games left, could the Red Sox possibly blow their tiny two game lead?  If there was ever a time for Boston fans to root for the Yankees, the time is now.  The Yankees beat the Rays tonight leaving the gap at two games, but the Sox had better hope that the Evil Empire continues to beat up on Tampa Bay during their remaining five games.  The Rays also play three more games against the Blue Jays, which bodes well for Boston.  However, if the Sox continue to lose to the Orioles and play poorly in New York this weekend, what was shaping up to be a great Sox season could end in disaster.  With how pitiful the pitching has been, the Red Sox will need their prolific offense to carry them to a wild card berth.  The Sox held a nine game lead in the wild card race as recently as September 3, but they are ever so close to one of the worst collapses in the history of the game.

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