Jacoby Ellsbury, the most exciting player in the game, celebrates his inside the park HR. (AP Photo)
The Boston Red Sox won a baseball game last night. Sounds preposterous I know, but it's true. Earlier in the day the outlook was much more grim, as the Sox lost a sloppy one run game to the lowly Baltimore Orioles, allowing for fear and trepidation to walk through the door and grip the Sox season by the throat. Their dwindling Wild Card lead was down to just 1.5 games, and the Fenway Faithful were starting to lose their namesake.
Then - to throw lemon juice on an open wound, John Lackey was due to pitch in the night cap. Lackey proceed to pitch as he has all year - like utter shit, giving up 11 hits and 8 runs over only 4.1 IP. His ERA is now bloated to 6.49 on the year, and just to put that into perspective, that's the worst ERA of any Red Sox starter in the organizations history. Think about that. The Red Sox were established in 1901, 110 years ago, and John Lackey has the worst qualified ERA of any pitcher during that time. I know saying Lackey sucks is like saying water's wet, but that perspective utterly blows my mind. Due to the loss earlier in the day, the Red Sox needed John more last night then they have in any start all year, and true to his form - he didn't show up. Why any of us would expect him to is beyond me, blame it on blind faith I guess.
Despite John Lackey's pitiful performance though, the Red Sox fought back, thanks in large part to Jed Lowrie's 3 run HR in the bottom of the first which showed the Sox were going to fight back this night. The play of the evening obviously goes to Jacoby Ellsbury and his inside the park HR, as he continues to put up MVP-like numbers (.319, 28 HR, 37 steals, 98 RBI, 114 R) during a career year. He's morphed himself into the most exciting everyday player in the game, and without him who the hell knows where the Sox would be right now.
Normally I'd equate a win like last night as a possible springboard for the Sox to finally turn things around, but that would be naive. Ellsbury's inside the parker was absolutely electrifying and served as a release for the fans and players to celebrate together. That said, they had a very similar experience at Fenway only seven days ago when Wakefield got his 200th win. That too seemed like it would be a wake up call, and I really did expect them to string together some wins. Instead they went 1-5 up until last night, and regressed back to the Sucktember Sox.
Chew on this as well, in that game they also scored 18 runs while giving up 6. And in their five wins in September (yes they've only won five) - they've averaged 13.2 runs. Of those five wins only once did they not score double digits, and while last night felt good and turned Fenway Park into a party because of Jacoby, our starter still sucked, and we gave up 9 runs to the worst Team in the AL. Our pitching is a huge problem right now, and until the Sox can win three of four, I'm holding back my confidence. Each win's huge now no doubt, but if we have to bang out 13 runs to get them, they'll be few and far between, and they have. Bedard's start tonight can't be understated. We need him to pitch seven innings of 2-3 run ball, and unfortunately that seems like asking to much.