Some games just plain suck. Last night's was one of those. In fact, so has every game in Texas so far this year.
There is a general feeling around these parts, at least, that the Red Sox have a tendency to "play down" to their competition. It would explain why the Sox are capable of manhandling top teams like Detroit, New York, and LA while the clubs dancing around .500 tend to hold their own. It would explain why on any given day CC Sabathia fears to face the Sox while soft-tossing rookie lefties use them to make a name for themselves.
But it doesn't explain Texas. For some reason, against Texas, everything just seems to go wrong. Or, rather, things turn right-side up. Strong competition provides a strong challenge. Good pitchers behave like good pitchers. And, at the end of the day, the Sox are left wondering where that truck that just hit them came from.
Just consider the four games they've played so far:
Game 1: Daniel Bard enters the bottom of the eighth after the Sox finally tied the game in the top of the frame. He immediately allows four earned runs. The Sox' greatest security blanket--pardon the metaphor--is ripped away from them and stomped on.
Game 2: Adrian Beltre hits a grand slam against his former team, and the game is over by the fourth. 'Nuff said.
Games 3 & 4: A complete failure of the offense with homers that make it clear the Sox aren't coming back from any reasonable deficit.
The Sox had no chance to come back late in any of the games. In three of them, the Sox' pitching fell apart suddenly and dramatically. Two of them saw a total of one run and nine hits.
And let's not forget that three of those started the season.
I've got nothing against the Rangers as a team. They seem like a pretty decent bunch of guys, Lone Star Ball isn't Halos Heaven, and they managed to knock the Yankees out of the playoffs last year (no, seriously, thanks for that), but God if I don't dread playing them more than any other team in the game right now.
If there's any consolation, it's that the Sox still haven't played them while at full strength, if you consider their starting slump to be "not at full strength." Yesterday's game certainly doesn't count as full strength without Youkilis, Ortiz, or Ellsbury. But still, it'd be nice to even have a close game.