The Sox can win with their depleted lineup. Before they arrived here in Florida, they had won five out of seven.
But when they pitch poorly, their inadequacies become magnified. That's what happened tonight. All those walks, errors, wild pitches and a passed ball became too much to overcome. Tim Wakefield took the blame, not that he had much choice.
He walked six Rays and four of them scored. There's the game.
It's a credit to their competitive nature that the Sox got the go-ahead run to the plate in the ninth inning after scoring two runs. But that was only a tease.
The reality is four losses in a row for the first time since those cold days of April and a 4.5-game deficit if the Yankees hold on and beat Oakland.
The panic-mongers in fan base and media will devour that news with relish. But with 77 games left, there is ample time to make up that ground. Come Aug. 10 or so, the Red Sox will have their team back.
I asked Rays Joe Maddon about the Sox today and he said he fully expected them to be at or near the top of the division come Sept. 1. "Of course," he said. "They're not going to go anywhere."
Jon Lester starts Friday and that's good news. Mike Cameron is starting to swing the bat with power as he overcomes his injury. That's good news, too. There is help on the way in the bullpen, too. Mike Bowden tossed two scoreless innings for Pawtucket tonight and he may need only one or two more games before getting called up.
Terry Francona gets the last word:
“This was a disappointing three days as far as getting wins. But we ask our guys to try their best to do their best. That’s exactly what they’re doing,” he said. “We’ll get on the plane, regroup and keep battling. This is actually kind of a fun group right now. This wasn’t a fun three days, but this is a good group to work with. We’ll figure it out.”
Thanks for reading. We'll have more from Toronto tomorrow.