Anyone that dares blame the Yankees for the Red Sox not making the playoffs deserves a swift slap to the face. The Red Sox surrendered a playoff berth that was theirs for the taking. It all happened so quickly last night, but this was a month long stretch of crappy baseball played by overrated, overpaid players. The Red Sox do not deserve to be in the 2011 MLB Playoffs.
Lester pitched well, all things considered. 6 innings, 2 earned on 3 days rest. I'll take that. He was a bit fortunate that Scutaro made that unbelievable glove-toss to Pedroia to start a double-play. Then Aceves did well, then Bard pitched a scoreless 8th, then Papelbon...
Papelbon had a tremendous season. But this is not the first time that he's been on the mound when a Red Sox season has ended with disappointment. I'm not saying we shouldn't re-sign him (unless we can acquire a similar talent for less money), but the facts are the facts. He has blown some pretty big saves.
It's a game of inches. Scutaro was inches from scoring on Crawford's double. But you shouldn't need a few inches here and there to beat the Orioles. The Sox had 7 games against Baltimore at the back of this schedule, and they went 2-5 in those games. The Orioles' payroll is $75 million less than the Sox.
And while the Red Sox lose the burden of JD Drew, but we're still saddled with Carl Crawford and John Lackey. This is not a complete team. All the preseason hype from all the suckers and fools in this town was over fantasy baseball stats. This team needs more starting pitching. They need another reliable arm in the pen. They need a full-time catcher, outfielders who play 150+ games, they need a bench.
There are good players on this team, good players with heart. Pedroia, Ellsbury, Youkilis. There's talented guys like Gonzalez, Beckett, Lester. Buchholz will hopefully be healthy. Daisuke isn't a bad #4 or #5. Lackey needs to be quietly killed and his body left in a snowbank. But there is a foundation here. There's something to build on.
But there needs to be a significant amount of building.
One thing I am seeing from most of the team in their post-game media sessions is emotion. Frustration. Anger. Disappointment. That's been missing, at least in the public's eye, all throughout this stretch. Maybe this team can play with some fire next year. Then again, you have excuse conjurers like Lackey who think the entire universe (except for Jim Beam) is against them. I don't know how much this team's attitude will change. I think you have different kinds of personalities in that clubhouse, and when things go well on the field, there's chemistry. When they don't, things break down.
Bruins season starts in 8 days.