The Red Sox are 59-65 after Wednesday night's loss against the Angels. They haven't been six games under .500 this late in a season since 1997. Not coincidentally, that is the last time they finished with a losing record.
This team is on pace to win 77 games. Given their schedule, their injuries, their pitching and what seems to be a general "let's get this over with" attitude, that's probably what is going to happen, too.
The only other team in baseball that has gone longer without a losing record is the Yankees, who were 76-86 in 1992.
Good franchises like the Tigers (2009), Rangers (2008), Angels (2010), Braves (2008), Phillies (2002), Cardinals (2007), Giants (2008) and Dodgers (2010) have had losing records since the last time the Red Sox did.
Turns out the Red Sox aren't immune from the rhythms of baseball. Bad decisions catch up to every team after a while. Mix in some injuries and a bunch of other nonsense and that's fourth place.
The crime is not finishing with a losing record. It's what you do to change it that counts. The Rays had their last losing season in 2007 and went to the World Series a year later. The Rangers emerged from their wrecked 2008 season and went to the Series in two of the next three seasons. The Giants were a mess in 2008 and champions in 2010.
It's nobody's birthright to have a successful team every season. If Sox fans didn't know that before, they sure do now.
A few notes:
• In what was his 100th appearance in the majors, Clay Buchholz had one of his worst performances. The seven runs matched his career high, as did the 12 hits he allowed. “I think I made a couple of bad pitches and they hit them,” Buchholz said. “I’m not really disappointed in anything. Ball was up in the zone. You can’t throw pitches consistently up there and expect to get away with it with a team like that.”
Buchholz had allowed eight earned runs in his previous six starts. He was due for a stinker and a stinker he got.
• Albert Pujols left the game with a strained right calf and is getting an MRI. He is questionable for Thursday.
• Scott Podsednik is hitting .370 with a .392 OBP in 30 games for the Sox. This was a guy who was barely over .200 in Triple A when they picked him up.
• Felix Doubront threw a lengthy bullpen session on Tuesday, simulating four innings of work. The lefthander was shut down to rest then placed on the disabled list with what the team claimed was a “right knee contusion.” He is eligible to come off the DL on Saturday. Bobby Valentine has not announced his rotation for the weekend series against the Royals but Doubront is expected to be part of it.
• David Ortiz went through some running drills and reported his strained right Achilles' tendon felt fine. He will try the same on Thursday. There seems to be a chance he plays this weekend.
• The Red Sox will take their annual team photo on Thursday. Now there’s a collector’s item.
• Jim Rice, Fred Lynn and Dwight Evans threw out first pitches before the game as part of the annual Jimmy Fund telethon. Rice came out from left field, Lynn from center and Evans from right. They were wearing their jerseys.
• Another great outfielder, Hall of Famer Carl Yastrzemski, celebrated his 73d birthday on Wednesday.