Expect the Unexpected

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Boston Red Sox: From worst to first to worst?

A dejected look on the face of Red Sox pitching ace Jon Lester says it all. —Barry Chin, Boston Globe photo

A dejected look on the face of Red Sox pitching ace Jon Lester says it all. —Barry Chin, Boston Globe photo

Looking at this year’s Boston Red Sox, it’s hard to believe this is the same team that won the World Series last year. As exciting and wild as the beards they sported back then, they are as dull as dishwasher this go ’round. It’s not just that that Sox are losing, they’re losing big.

The team’s 7 -2 loss last night to the Toronto Blue Jays at Fenway Park, capped off a horrific homestand, where the Sox lost six straight games. The last time they lost a homestand of six games or more was in 1994. With a previous loss on the road, the Sox have now lost seven straight. Their record is 20-26, and they’re technically in next to last place in the division, ahead of Tampa Bay by a game. But they are playing like complete losers.

The Sox aren’t just blowing games in the late innings (although they’ve done a fair share of that), they’re also frequently out for the count by the fourth or fifth inning. Snoozefests.

While I didn’t expect the Red Sox to repeat their amazing feats from last year, where they won games by hard work and occasional luck, I didn’t expect them to collapse so quickly this year.

When the Sox finished in dead last a couple years ago under the tutelage of manager Bobby Valentine, everyone chalked it up to his poor leadership and inability to get the best out of his players.

With Valentine summarily bounced out after one season, in walked John Farrell and he was the dream manager the team hoped for. Red Sox General Manager Ben Cherington did some brilliant trading, dumping high priced, non-productive team members Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford, and Adrian Gonzalez to the Los Angeles Dodgers, and bringing in David Ross, Jonny Gomes, Mike Napoli, Shane Victorino, and Koji Uehara. Key players who made a huge difference and led the Red Sox to a World Series victory that no one predicted.

As singer Paul Simon might say, the team is now slip slidin’ away. The nearer their destination, the more they’re slip slidin’ away. Mr. Valentine is now the athletic director at Sacred Heart University, so fans can’t use him as the team’s scapegoat.

Let’s hope this homestand debacle was a wake up call and the Sox get their team spirit back together. They don’t need to win every game. They just don’t need to lose them all.

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