Red Sox

Dan Shaughnessy: For openers, it doesn’t get much worse than this

Red Sox relief pitcher Joe Kelly haeds for the dugout after being removed from the game by manager Alex Cora in the bottom of the eighth inning.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Wow. What is there to say other than . . .

■ Bring back John Farrell.

■ Wait till next year.

■ Bring back Grady Little.

■ The Red Sox have already played their worst game of the season.

■ How do you blow a 4-0 lead to a team that looks like it is designed to lose?

■ Bring back Bobby Valentine.

OK, let’s all calm down. I am overreacting here. The season is not over. Alex Cora is going to be just fine (we think). This is not going to be one of those Raging Bullpen teams that gives fans heart attacks in the seventh and eighth innings.


But what in the name of “Launch Angle’’ went on at the Trop Thursday? In a scene that was wildly reminiscent of the Red Sox’ season-opening disaster here 15 years ago, the Sox wasted a Chris Sale gem, blew a 4-0 lead in the eighth, and dropped a 6-4 decision to a team that looks worthy of a commissioner’s investigation for consumer fraud. The Rays look like they are trying to lose this year, but that didn’t stop them from overwhelming the Sox’ setup-by-committee in the sixth-run eighth.

Oh, and in case you haven’t heard, all this damage was inflicted while Craig Kimbrel sat in the bullpen and never warmed up. This after we were told all winter that he would be used in high-leverage situations before the ninth inning.


Not Thursday. Even though Cora told us Kimbrel was “available,’’ the rookie skipper said that “we decided before the game’’ that Kimbrel would not be inserted into the middle of an inning.

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Did I mention that the Sox ran into a pair of outs? Didn’t think so. And it would have been three blunders if a Tampa relay throw hadn’t bounced off the mound on Eduardo Nunez’s second-inning inside-the-park homer.

This was, in short, the Full Monty of Sox Suck on Opening Day.

Poor Cora. What a way to start your Red Sox managerial career. Fergie had a better day singing the anthem at the NBA All-Star Game.


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