In a season when it’s hard to imagine a new low, the Red Sox on Sunday night seemed to redefine it once again.
For the second game in a row the Red Sox offense put up 3 early runs only to see the game’s starter give it all back. Saturday it was youngster, Allen Webster. Sunday, more egregious in my view, was Clay Buchholz‘ latest meltdown. Seemingly not content with giving up a 3-run lead in the top of the 2nd inning, Buchholz went on to give up a 7-4 lead in the top of the 5th.
It was Craig Breslow in the top of the 6th who allowed the deciding, go-ahead home run for the Yankees by the scorchingly hot Brett Gardner. Gardner, secure in his own contract situation (New York locked him up through 2018 last off-season), went 3-for-4 Sunday, extending his career-high, single season home run total to 15. His 44 RBIs from the leadoff spot this year are the 2nd-most in the big leagues behind the Rockies’ Charlie Blackmon (53).
Craig Breslow took the Red Sox loss while Clay skated away with a No-Decision, despite his miserable performance to include 5 walks.
Walks, he and Manager Farrell said after the game, were his undoing with Farrell using his familiar “come back to haunt” turn of phrase. In fact, Buchholz’ now 3 straight games with 4+ walks is a new career low water mark for him.
Over the course of the three weekend games Red Sox pitching walked the lead off batter in an inning 6 times or 22% of the time.
Stephen Drew went 2-for-4 and matched his season high with 4 RBI on Sunday, but before assigning mystical relevance to that, let’s be clear: Drew was 0-for-4 Friday and 1-for-3 Saturday. If only he could face Buchholz every night.
For their last 10 games, the Red Sox are at an MLB-worst 2-8. After 110 games they have yet to win their 50th. Even the 2012 Valentine Disaster managed their 50th win by July 28. That club was 53-55 by August 4th.
If good wishes could make it happen, I think Jackie Bradley, Jr. would be batting 1.000. Fans like him and respect his amazing prowess in the outfield. His now 13 outfield assists are 6 more than any other center fielder in baseball. But, good intentions are not enough. Bradley went 0-for-4 Sunday extending his hitlessness to now 0-for-24. Can you be a major league player if you can’t hit? Personally, I don’t think so but I also haven’t given up on Bradley. Not by a long shot.
On the up side, the Sox belted out 25 hits over the weekend series. They averaged 5 runs per game, an uptick from their American League-worst 3.8 average runs per game throughout the season.
David Ortiz tied Adam Dunn at #35 on the MLB All-Time Home Run list with the 457th of his career on Sunday. Since July 1 he’s provided the bulk of the Red Sox offense with 30 RBIs. The next most on the club is 12 by Dustin Pedroia.
Daniel Nava and Pedroia have stayed hot going 12-for-38 (.345) and 16-for-52 (.308), respectively, over the past 15 days. Pedroia has now recorded multiple hits in 5 straight games, matching a career-high streak for the 7th time. The Red Sox record for a second baseman is 7 multi-hit games, most recently by Marty Barrett in 1987. The club record is 9 multi-hit games by Roy Johnson, 1934; Jim Rice, 1978; Kevin Youkilis, 2007.
As others have noted, Pedroia’s power is down this season. Sunday’s was his 5th home run of the season, his first in 146 at-bats. He had 8 HRs at this point last season, 9 by now in 2012, 16 in 2011.