Knocked down, but are they out?
You can’t get beaten more soundly than the Red Sox have the last four games. Four utterly disheartening losses against a team they can’t afford to lose against. Still, ask yourself this: Is it indeed over, as the Red Sox sit here 5 1/2 games out with 39 to play.
Yes and No. Yes if the Red Sox continue to play like this, yes if the Yankees don’t cool off the rest of the way. But no if the Red Sox get their confidence back, not to mention Varitek, Nixon and Wakefield, and no if the White Sox continue to be inconsistent.
I can tell that you guys are deflated because the post total this weekend has been far less than it was in recent weeks. I don’t blame you for being deflated. But just remember that this is a very strange game and you usually aren’t as good as you look during a winning streak or as bad as you look during times like these.
I understand the frustration with Francona last night. By and large, I think he’s been an excellent manager for this team. But I know a lot of folks in the press-box first-guessed not bringing Papelbon in to start the eighth and also having Youkilis, a poor bunter, lay one down with Ortiz, a poor runner, on second.
But this spell is by no means on Francona. It is on the players, and, at least at this point, the front office for not improving a team that held a three-game lead at the All-Star break.
Sending Hansen down was absolutely the right thing. They couldn’t keep letting him get beaten around like this. I’d start going to some of the veteran relievers again — Tavarez and Foulke. They can’t be any worse than the young guys have been lately.