Swept Away

When events are current they always have more apparent weight, so I want to recognize that there may be some hyperbole in what I am writing, but I really can’t remember a team with at least a reasonable amount of talent playing such terrible baseball for a stretch of time like this, in 30+ years of cognizant Sox-watching. There have been (many) bad teams that played badly (and I don’t wish for that to return to Boston, by any means), and there have been times when good teams played badly (2004, pre-trade), but I really don’t recall any Sox team with as decent a lineup as they have and at least some semblance of a pitching staff looking this out of it, this tired, this lackluster, this fundamentally bad on an all-around level, since at least as far back as the 1990 playoff series against the A’s or, in a regular season, since the collapse in 1978. 

26 comments… add one
  • If things continue in this vein, and for goodness sake I hope they do, Fenway is sure gonna be a seriously chippy place next weekend.

    YF August 10, 2006, 11:42 pm
  • Fenway? How about this blog? Wow, that could be interesting…

    Paul SF August 10, 2006, 11:52 pm
  • Well, Damon the Yankees just helped keep this reasonably close by leaving two men on in the 9th.

    Hudson August 11, 2006, 1:03 am
  • Hey, we lose 2 of 3 in Chi-Town(w/every game a 1 run affair), and still take the season series 4 games to 2 from the defending World Champs, I’m not crying about this series, especially after the Sox f’d up every opportunity to make this division race closer. Back to that big ballpark in the Bronx to take on the annual Yankee killers; the Halos. Here’s to hoping for a bunch of slain Angels in the Big Apple. LET’S-GO-YANKEES!!!!!!!!!!!

    bloodyank78 August 11, 2006, 1:24 am
  • I’m not even upset at this point. I’m pissed off. And I’d love to say I can’t even watch this next series, because it will probably make me sick to my stomach, but I know that when 7 o’clock comes, I’ll be in front of the TV with the game on.
    The only redeeming thing about this past series was that I was jet lagged and didn’t get past the seventh inning once.

    Laura August 11, 2006, 7:45 am
  • This drought is so inexplicable, so extraordinary, that I just cannot see the Red Sox coming out of it in time to save the season. This is a good baseball team, lots of good players who can hit, pitch and field.
    And then they play like THIS! Why SHOULD we have hope? WHY?? There is nothing that can be done to fix it except for the players to start performing to their abilities.
    Don’t blame Theo, and don’t blame Tito. This one is squarely on the players’ butts.

    I'm Bill McNeal August 11, 2006, 9:10 am
  • Anytime Tito puts Crisp in the leadoff instead of Youk, and then Lowell in the five spot instead of, say, anyone – all of the blame is on him!

    Brad August 11, 2006, 9:27 am
  • I understand that the players need to play the game and they’re mostly veterans who understand this, but there’s one man whose job it is to motivate the players and get them up to play the game and remind them of little things like not getting picked off and how to throw to first, etc.
    That’s all I’m saying.

    Paul SF August 11, 2006, 11:09 am
  • Like YF said last night, the world is upside-down, as far as my take on the Sox’ managing. Tito has made some mistakes as of late, but most of them have been somewhat defensible. He hasn’t managed idiotically (excepting hitting Coco leadoff, that is). This skid, and the crumbling season, are attributable to bad performance on the field and some serious holes in the lineup, particularly the bottom of the rotation and the setup relief corps. At least 4 times in the last two weeks the Sox have been in a position to win games, and with some bit of ease. Those four games are currently the difference in the division. They have lost because of player performance, not because of poor managing. Theo Epstein (and John Henry, of course) chose not to alter the team in the short term for the sake of the long term. They, more than Francona, should be burdened with the general managerial blame for the current woes, if “blame” is the right term. If you buy into the long-term program (which I do, to a great deal) then you have to live with this type of play, however frustrating, and “blame” therefore is not the right term, since it is so negative and devoid of the proper long-term context of the team’s personnel and payroll strategies. Rather, it’s “ultimate responsibility”. I do believe there is a difference between these two terms. The long-term concept for the Sox is to be perennially at the top while maintaining a large but internally capped payroll, while being able to retool constantly to stay competitive. That strategy, particulary the “large but internally capped payroll” will inevitably lead to seasons like this, where players who could help (Lidle, Abreu) will not be acquired, at the expense of the fans’ (and I am sure some players in the clubhouse’s) sanity.
    No mistake: this play is excruciatingly frustrating. But first and foremost it is the players who are not doing their jobs.

    SF August 11, 2006, 11:36 am
  • Edes said something in one of his notes columns about the players being frustrated about the lack of deadline moves. Because it’s one thing to have a plan, but if you’re a veteran on a one-year deal for a contending team, you want to win NOW, not hope you’re part of the club’s long-term plan. Maybe that has something to do with the unfocused, uninspired play.
    Sadly, if it’s true, it’s the exact opposite of what they should be thinking. This club is good enough to win it all once the injured return. But they’re playing themselves out of even getting the chance in October.

    Paul SF August 11, 2006, 11:39 am
  • Paul: see my comment, which I reposted before you commented, as I made an edit addressing exactly what you say.

    SF August 11, 2006, 11:42 am
  • One thing that I think is being missed is the fact that the Sox are playing so badly and yet the Yanks aren’t putting them away. YFs can’t hope that the Sox skid lasts much longer and should therefore, I think, be mildly concern that the difference stands at just three games. Given how many games are left between the two teams, that’s a negligible difference (and that’s not even considering strength of remaining schedule/home games remaining, etc)

    Sam August 11, 2006, 12:04 pm
  • Still, Sam, the Yanks gave gained something like six games in three weeks. That’s not bad. It went from the Sox on the verge of putting the Yanks away to vice versa. Three more weeks of this, and I don’t think you’ll have to worry.

    Paul SF August 11, 2006, 12:09 pm
  • Sam: four games in the loss column with only 7 weeks left in the season is not negligble. It’s not insurmountable, but it is not negligible.

    SF August 11, 2006, 12:13 pm
  • Sam, you assume we will start to play and manage better. Can’t assume that right now. And, by the way, the players have not played, but TITO has been awful. WTF, why was Gabe put in? And why wasn’t Schill pulled. Is there anyone, I mean anyone, that thought Schill was going to get it done after the 8th inning leadoff hit? That was the time to hook him, Grady Francona aint helping us. Crappy play with great managing and maybe we win one or two. Crappy play and Grady Francona, we don’t have a prayer!

    Manny's Mission August 11, 2006, 12:40 pm
  • Sam, you assume we will start to play and manage better. Can’t assume that right now. And, by the way, the players have not played, but TITO has been awful. WTF, why was Gabe put in? And why wasn’t Schill pulled. Is there anyone, I mean anyone, that thought Schill was going to get it done after the 8th inning leadoff hit? That was the time to hook him, Grady Francona aint helping us. Crappy play with great managing and maybe we win one or two. Crappy play and Grady Francona, we don’t have a prayer!

    Manny's Mission August 11, 2006, 12:42 pm
  • MM – you’re right. I am assuming that this isn’t the “real” Red Sox. And Paul, yes, it’s a big turnaround.
    Okay, let me make the counter argument. Someone on this site the other day told us the Sox’s record v AL opposition – and it wasn’t very impressive. Could it be that this really is the real Sox, and that the Yanks problems and interleague play just masked the issue earlier in the season?

    Sam August 11, 2006, 1:22 pm
  • Addendum: The Sox went 16-2 vs the NL. So vs the AL, they’re 49-46. That speaks volumes.

    Sam August 11, 2006, 1:30 pm
  • It does, Sam. And it makes that 4 game loss column far more significant than you have copped to. All the Yankees have to do is split the remaining games with the Sox in order to cause serious damage. That’s a strong position.

    SF August 11, 2006, 1:38 pm
  • I miss Millar. Don’t you just need/want to hear a player come out be positive and jumpstart this dying jalopy of a ball team. So, maybe “chemistry” does count. And I would like someone to give Wells a few beers a couple hours before the game. Get that fat fu*k drunk and throwing at someone’s head or leg, or any old body part. I want him to own the plate. Show some freaking emotion out there. Maybe a good old fashion bench clearing, kick the crap out of em and get the juices flowing fight tonight? Something. Please. I am begging not to have to stay awake again tonight staring at the ceiling asking why my beloved Sox are taking a dive.

    Manny's Mission August 11, 2006, 1:54 pm
  • I do not miss Millar, particularly not the 2005 Millar. Let’s not get all revisionist here. Last year he was painfully bad, if everyone remembers. And he wasn’t getting any younger.

    SF August 11, 2006, 2:09 pm
  • I miss Millar’s attitude. Don’t miss the at-bats he’d be taking away from Youk…

    Paul SF August 11, 2006, 2:10 pm
  • I have tickets to Monday nights game, and for the first time in years I am not excited to go. Maybe the beer and dogs will pull me out of this slump.

    Shawn August 11, 2006, 2:18 pm
  • David Ortiz: “You always go through these times every year and then we start playing better. We’ve got to hang tight and go home and win some games. There’s nothing you can do but hang in there.” (found the quote at Joy of Sox)
    I’m not so positive as the big man myself, but it’s nice to know someone cares and knows what’s happening.
    I think it’s more that there’s flaws in the team (with injuries, especially…we’ll see what happens when certain injured players return, but the bullpen will always be a question…) than that they need an attitude adjustment. I’d love to see someone break a chair or something, though.

    Devine August 11, 2006, 3:40 pm
  • Regarding the idea that good teams don’t play like this for extended periods of time…
    Well, I guess it depends on how you view the 2005 New York Yankees. The first 1/3 of the season was awful, wherein they were swept by (drumroll please) the Kansas City Royals. They then went apeshit on the league and won the division… and got bounced in the first round.

    Rob (Middletown, CT) August 11, 2006, 4:38 pm
  • Time of year matters a lot. The 2004 Red Sox also were not good in the first half of 2004, but slumping in the first 81 games is a lot more preferable than slumping in games 100-130.

    Paul SF August 11, 2006, 6:19 pm

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