That’s how I feel this morning, having witnessed another crappy — there’s really no other word for it — display by the Red Sox last night. I don’t know how being "dumb like a fox" is supposed to feel, but I imagine it leaves you somewhat fuzzy, seeking clarity, almost grasping it, then having it slip away from you again.
What are we to think of this West Coast-ish road trip, which featured a hideously scheduled game immediately following an ESPN Sunday Night game versus the Yankees? Strangely, the Sox showed more fight in that game than they did the rest of the series.
The starting pitching continued to shine, with each starter getting at least one quality start. The Sox allowed more than four runs just twice in seven games, the opening and closing games of the series. The bullpen also was terrific, giving up five runs (just one earned) the whole trip, and all those runs also came in the opening and closing games of the series.
Terry Francona has to stop batting Julio Lugo and Coco Crisp at the top of the order any time one of the big bats is out. Their OPS+ combined is 110. Together, they do not even equal any one of six of the other seven batters in the lineup, and soon that may be all seven: J.D. Drew is up to a 90 OPS+. Putting them in front of the remaining big batters makes an already weakened lineup even worse, wasting the strong bottom-lineup performance of Jason Varitek and Dustin Pedroia and assuring that the bases will be empty next inning for Ortiz and Ramirez. I think it’s time for a Youkilis-Pedroia 1-2, with Lowell fifth, Varitek sixth, Drew seventh until he turns it around and Los Vacios safely at the bottom of the lineup, receiving the fewest plate appearances.
Even with the gaudy season numbers from the Sox’ lineup (two-thirds at least 10 percent above league average production), the numbers this series, as gone over in the Globe, were pathetic. Three runs or less in every game but two.
What to make of this trip? I honestly don’t know. The first three games were terrible, but the Schilling-Beckett combo put a stop to that. The offense, particularly Drew and Varitek, showed signs of life against the Diamondbacks, but no one could manage anything off Johnson. Was the Johnson game a fluke, or were the two preceding wins that actually showed some life? Is this lineup showing that it truly is, as Pete Abraham so controversially stated, a house of cards? Or did a tired team just run into two teams with good pitchers on hot streaks? I’ll let you decide, and leave you with this excellent, albeit random, quote from Julian Tavarez.
People look at you as a clown, dumb and stupid. People, fans, players, teammates look at you as a clown, as stupid, as a dummy who always does something to make people laugh. They don’t admit the truth and say, ‘You know what, the guy who is stupid and a dummy, he’s going to make something happen to win. Pain is nothing to him. He’ll do something to find a way to win.’ And that’s me. Dumb like a fox.