For Sean O. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-US PRESSWIRE
If you found yourself checking the calendar at some point, wondering if perhaps it was September 2011, you can be forgiven, because as the Tigers beat the Red Sox slowly but surely into the ground, it felt a lot like those darkest of days.
Of course, if you were looking over towards the calendar, you may have notice that it's 2012, which to the superstitious amongst us means that it's going to be a bad year for Josh Beckett.
Do we have any converts after tonight?
Seven earned runs off of one walk and seven hits--five of them home runs. At the very least, it wasn't like he was getting teed off on by backups--two went to Miguel Cabrera, two to Prince Fielder, and one to Alex Avila, but that's cold comfort on the back end up quite such a beatdown.
Beckett did have some life on his fastball early on, but as the night wore on all that life served to do was to bring the ball over the middle of the plate and put it on a perfect trajectory to be hooked into right, left, wherever the Tigers happened to be aiming at the moment. His changeup was garbage throughout, with his curveball perhaps the most consistent offering, and even that not falling the way he'd want for it to.
The offense fared better against Doug Fister and the relievers who replaced him after his early injury-related exit than it did against Justin Verlander, but that still did not result in any runs. Adrian Gonzalez, Ryan Sweeney, and Jarrod Saltalamacchia seemed the most competent of the bunch, while Mike Aviles and Cody Ross looked completely out of their depth, far removed from their spring performances. Also of concern is Kevin Youkilis, who seems not himself at the plate.
Perhaps the scariest thing about the whole game was how much it felt like September in every last way. Bad pitching is one thing. A struggling offense is one thing. How everything seemed to snowball, and every last possible thing that could go wrong did? That's another. The sloppy play in the field, the balls that were hit right at defensive players, and the ones that seemed to drop perfectly against us.
Some of that is within the Sox' power to control, and seeing that continue to go wrong even on the other side of the offseason triggers some level of panic, however unreasonable it might be to judge based on one day. The rest of it is not, and so it's even more unreasonable to put any value in it.
But it's 2012, an even year, and I'll be damned if I'm not feeling a bit superstitious after this.