There are a lot of words that describe how the Red Sox played tonight, but we try to keep this a family blog, so I’ll turn to my old buddy Roget and let you pick: Pitiful, contemptible, miserable, pitiable, mediocre, trashy, shoddy, worthless, sorry, base, below par, sub-normal, second-rate, defective, deficient … Oh, here’s a good one: Bad. Manny Ramirez excepted.
Particularly bad: Matt Clement and Terry Francona. Clement struggled in every inning but the first. By the time the fourth came up, he was up ther ein pitches and had worked out of trouble just about every inning. He managed to load the bases and give up three runs in the second. It was obvious he did not have it. So when he gave up two hits to the first two batters in the fourth, what would you have done? What would I have done? What would anybody whose name doesn’t rhyme with Berry Pamplona have done? For the third time in less than a week — and second game in a row — Francona waited until three batters too late to pull his struggling starter. Tonight, it cost us.
Tavarez might have given up a run or two. But even if he gives up two runs (allowing both inherited runners to score), the game is tied on Manny’s home run. Don’t get me wrong. I have plenty of wrath for Clement, who is far too inconsistent to be a starter on this team. But it was Francona who left him in there despite his poor performance, his foot slipping twice on the mound and his visible limping out there. Clement looks like he’s snake-bit, and that line drive last year might have hurt him more than he’ll admit. But Francona has got to start managing his players to win games and not to boost his starters’ "confidence" (read: egos). He’s doing neither, and he’s costing us games we can’t afford to lose.
Randy Johnson sucked tonight. Yet he got the win. That’s all you need to know about this game.