There’s losing and then there’s … uh, well, whatever the Boston Red Sox did Saturday. Leading 9-0 through five innings at home, the Red Sox surrendered a single run in the sixth, seven runs in the seventh inning, seven more in the eighth inning to the New York Yankees, triggering an audible fury in the seats at Fenway Park.
The Red Sox have allowed more runs over the first two weeks of the 2012 season (18 vs. Texas Rangers); the Sox have had more heartbreaking losses; but Boston has rarely had a more humiliating loss. When your loss steals the headlines from a perfect game (Philip Humber), it’s obvious the events at Fenway were extraordinary.
The loss wouldn’t have been so devastating if controversy hadn’t already been the team or, in the wake of a slow start (4-10), rumors that last year’s collapse weren’t so distracting or, if the weekend hadn’t become such a spectacle because of the Red Sox 100th Anniversary celebration or, if it was anyone but the Yankees. Well, there is (controversy), there are (rumors), it is (anniversary) and it was (the Yankees).
What’s to celebrate?
“I think we’ve hit bottom,” said Sox manager Bobby Valentine.
If true, Red Sox fans should view this optimism. Give thanks for hitting bottom in mid-April. Give thanks that the reason the team has hit bottom is not talent, but injuries and poor play. Give thanks that – whether you like him or not – Bobby Valentine is masterful at using such circumstances to motivate a team.
The Red Sox have lost 10 of their first 14 games. Fans may not want to hear this, they may not believe it, but the Red Sox are better than this. The bullpen will improve, injuries will heal (Daisuke Matsuzaka and Carl Crawford), summer will break and the Boston Red Sox will go on a tear. The American League East will tighten up and, again, three teams will be fighting for the post-season throughout September.