Lester was good, not great, but good enough. The Sox scored a few runs. But the bullpen blew it. Twice. Atchison laid an egg in the 7th. Then Aceves lost it in the 10th.
The bullpen is one part of this team that I have almost no confidence in. There are some good hitters on this team, and the role players have exceeded expectations. And the starting pitching has potential to improve. But the pen is worrisome. They're just not reliable, not trustworthy.
Alfredo Aceves has been put into a role that he didn't expect to be in. And he hasn't done well. He was a life-saver for the Sox last year. But relievers are notoriously inconsistent from year to year. Maybe this role is too uncomfortable for Aceves. Maybe he won't be very good in any role. All I know is he has a 5.02 ERA, 3 losses, and 3 blown saves.
The bullpen isn't a complete mess. But they are going to blow games like this, more than just occasionally.
Maybe Daniel Bard will wind up in the bullpen. I think that's the best place for him, and it's the best for the Sox. He can close, Aceves can set-up, and everyone else's workload gets lighter.
On the bright side, Jarrod Saltalamacchia has been a more than adequate player. It's nice to once again get offensive production from a catcher. It's sort of a bonus. He's hitting .279 (better than Adrian Gonzalez), he's slugging .593 (.186 more than Gonzalez), he hit his 11th homerun (7 more than Gonzalez), and knocked in his 27th RBI (2 less than Gonzalez). And unlike Gonzalez, he's getting big hits in important situations.
The Sox have lost two straight now, and 3 out of 5, so they can't let this snowball. Beckett is pitching tonight and it's his chance to stop a losing streak before it happens. The offense also has to remember how to get hits with runners in scoring position.
Beckett faces Wei-Yin Chen who is 4-2 with a decent 3.75 ERA. He's been very good this year at giving the Orioles a chance to win in his starts. If Beckett brings his A game, he can outclass Chen, even if Chen does well. If Beckett has his C game, it's all up to the Sox offense. And that bullpen.