The Red Sox are 3-8 in their last 11 games. They were 7-2 in their previous 9. That's 10-10. They're a .500 team capable of brilliance one week, then shameful performances the next. Every part of the team is talented but unreliable. It balances out over a long run. And the result is a 43-43 team.
Actually, they're a 32-23 team when their best pitchers are on the mound, and an 11-20 team when they're two worst starters pitch. Those two worst starters are Josh Beckett and Jon Lester. The Sox are a .582 team when anyone else starts. They're a .355 team when either of these guys pitches.
The Sox haven't won a Josh Beckett start since May 26th.
This isn't an aberration caused by bad luck or poor run support. These two pitchers are simply not pitching well. They're pitching poorly, and not just for two guys who were expected to pitch well. Beckett's ERA is 4.43. Lester's is 4.49. The ERA for the entire American League is 4.04. So both of these guys have ERAs that are about 0.40 higher than the League average. That's bad.
This weekend, Beckett and Lester failed. I heard some analysts applauding Beckett for settling down and going 5 innings on Friday, but he lost the game in the 1st inning. And then last night, Lester couldn't even go 5 innings. These two pitchers don't put the team in position to win very often.
There's no denying their talent, but there's also no denying their failure.
And that's the story of the Red Sox as a whole. You can point to injuries, and count down the days until Jacoby Ellsbury returns. But the two best pitchers on the team have ERAs that are about 10% higher than the AL average. How are you supposed to win when your most talented players are playing worse than the League's average talent?
Not to mention you have a middle-reliever who is obsessed with Mark Teixeira. Your best hitter is concerned about his contract. And your bullpen is a patched together mess that's one loose thread away from disintegrating.
During the All-Star Break, the Red Sox will be playing the most consistent baseball they've played all season long.