Boston Red Sox

Boston Red Sox

Monday, September 19, 2011

Red Sox in Midst of Epic Collapse

John Lackey has been a colossal failure this season and may be Theo Epstein's worst free agent signing.

I'm here to tell you right now that this season won't end well for the Red Sox. Consider this their epitaph.

In the last 31 games, Sox' starting pitchers have gone seven innings just three times. In that span, the Sox also have the worst ERA in baseball

Monday's double-header marked the 15th time in 19 games this month that a Red Sox starter has failed to go at least six innings. The Red Sox have lost 13 of those 15 games.

The lack of quality starts is just killing the Red Sox.

But it's not just pitching alone. The Sox have committed 21 errors in 19 games this month.

It's tough to find anything to feel truly optimistic about with this team right now.

Though they are capable of wild offensive highs, like the 18-run outbursts against the Orioles Monday night, the Sox are also prone to offensive hibernation. On six occasions this month, the Sox have scored two or fewer runs.

With this offense, lately, it's been feast or famine.

Boston cannot hope to win in the postseason with the kind of offensive explosions they've had much of this year. Such eruptions won't occur in the playoffs, should the Sox even get that far.

Playoff teams have great pitching — the kind that shuts down offenses and results in low-scoring games.

But the Red Sox don't possess that kind of pitching, which is why I think they won't make it very far in the playoffs — should they even qualify.

Honestly, with a two-game lead over the Rays in the loss column, and eight games to go, would it really surprise anyone if Tampa overtakes Boston?

The Sox have lost 12 of their last 15 games and do not even resemble a playoff team at this point. They have not won two in a row since August 27, when they swept a doubleheader from Oakland.

The Red Sox recent offensive and defensive struggles may iron themselves out. After all, the Sox have had the best offense in baseball this season and they also have the seventh best fielding percentage in the game.

It's the starting pitching that likely gives Theo Epstein sleepless nights. The present rotation cannot — and will not — win the Pennant, much less the World Series.

AL Leaders in Quality Starts (potential playoff teams):

Rays: 94, Rangers: 93, Angels: 91, Tigers: 87, Yankees: 80, Red Sox: 69

Red Sox Quality Starts/Total Starts

Becket 20/28
Lester 18/29
Lackey 8/27
Wakefield 8/22
Buchholz 6/14
Miller 3/12

Yes, John Lackey and Tim Wakefield have combined for two fewer quality starts than Jon Lester. If the Red Sox make the playoffs, one or both of them will be in the rotation, depending on the health of Erik Bedard.

Does any of that give you even the slightest bit of confidence?

Me neither.

I'm calling this season over as of today. Naturally, I hope I'm wrong. But, unfortunately, I strongly feel I'm right. This team just doesn't have "it."

And "it" really comes down to just one thing; starting pitching.

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