Less than a week ago I was sitting in Grandstand 22 at Fenway Park as the Red Sox battled the Blue Jays in a midweek match-up. It was replica ring night at Fenway and the only thing that had any reminiscent value of the 2013 World Series Championship were the free metal rings given out at the ticket gates.
Fresh off a sweep from the Detroit Tigers (my early season pick to win the 2014 World Series) in which the Red Sox scored only three runs, the defending World Series Champs were now beginning another difficult series against MLB’s representatives from Canada.
The Red Sox were amidst a losing skid that began to snowball uncontrollably and at the center of it was the man on the mound that evening, Clay Buchholz. Serving up two homeruns to Blue Jays first baseman, Edwin Encarnacion, everyone in the ballpark knew Buchholz was not recovering. It was going to be a “two bags of peanuts” kind of night for me.
Buchholz isn’t the only one to blame for the eventual 10-game losing streak. David Ross and AJ Pierzynski are both struggling behind the plate. While more comfortable with Sox pitching, Ross, with his sub .200 batting average, is looking more like the newly re-acquired Stephen Drew and Pierzynski just has not found his rhythm with Boston’s rotation. Maybe a deal to re-acquire Salty is in the works? Hey, the Sox have done something like that before.
As the Sox were falling, the Blue Jays were rising. The Blue Jays, sweeping the series against the Sox, started a streak of their own. A winning one, that propelled them into first place in the AL East. It looks as though the “worst-to-first” title might need a passport.
The losing streak is now over after a pair of wins in Atlanta, but is Dan Shaughnessy right? Was 2013 really an outlier year for the Red Sox?
As Big Papi struck out to end any hope of a comeback in the ninth, I couldn’t help to think what would’ve happened if this game had happened one year ago. No doubt the Red Sox would’ve scored three runs in the bottom of the ninth and eventually walk-off with the win. I tried sliding the metal replica ring on my ring finger. It didn’t fit and for some reason the only finger the piece of metal fit on was my middle finger.