CLEVELAND - APRIL 05: Asdrubal Cabrera #13 of the Cleveland Indians beats the tag by Jarrod Saltalamacchia #39 of the Boston Red Sox during the fifth inning of the game at Progressive Field on April 5, 2011 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
Time to panic yet? I'm starting to think so.
The Red Sox are now 0-4 after falling to the Indians, 3-1. Make no mistake: this was one of the ones they were really supposed to win.
Josh Beckett, while unspectacular, did well enough to keep the Red Sox alive unlike, say, John Lackey. After an unimpressive first which saw him give up some hard contact and a double, Beckett came around some in the second, and through two outs in the third, even seemed to be finding his groove. Michael Brantley, however, was not going to go down quietly, and worked a long at bat ending in a walk. Asdrubal Cabrera followed suit and, while the Indians didn't score, a 30-pitch inning perhaps set up what was to follow.
It was in the fourth inning, after all, that the Indians broke through. A one-out double from Travis Hafner was followed up on the very next pitch by an RBI single from Orlando Cabrera, who was then brought in on a two-out single from Jack Hannahan off of Beckett's glove. The fifth inning was only slightly better, with a leadoff double from Asdrubal Cabrera eventually leading to the third Cleveland run of the night.
As for the offense, well, it was awfully reminiscent of their performance against Texas' Matt Harrison. Another pitcher with neither a big name nor impressive numbers, held the Red Sox to just three hits and one earned run in seven innings. Dustin Pedroia attempted to start off a rally with a one-out single in the ninth inning, but Chris Perez got both Adrian Gonzalez and David Ortiz to fly out to left. Good contact, but no results.
If there's one thing really scary about this loss, it's that there's just not a lot of mitigating circumstances. It wasn't a matter of crazy fly balls in Texas, or a slow start from a guy like Jon Lester, or Daniel Bard exploding. The Sox, from man number one to man number twenty-five, were outplayed. And by the Cleveland Indians.