Jun 25, 2012; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Felix Doubront (61) reacts after giving up a home run against the Toronto Blue Jays during the first inning at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Mark L. Baer-US PRESSWIRE
All the signs from the last game proved more or less correct.
The once-struggling aspects of the Sox offense was on point: Dustin Pedroia had two hits, there was solid contact from Adrian Gonzalez, and even Ryan Kalish picked up a couple of knocks. Daniel Nava had a bad night, and Will Middlebrooks didn't really key in until a majestic fly ball double in his last at bat of the night, but with David Ortiz going deep twice, it was a convincing offensive performance that should have been enough.
Unfortunately, the sobering reality is that no matter how good the offense is you still need pitching to come through with at least a decent outing to be sure of anything. And at least of late, Felix Doubront hasn't been very good at providing decent outings.
Four runs in the first--in part due to a Will Middlebrooks error, but more due to lots of loud contact--and an unlucky fifth in the second put Boston in an early hole, and even with the lineup able to bail him out by tying the game in the fifth, he once again struggled in the sixth, with a pair of changeups costing him a long double and a two-run homer. Just as soon as the game was tied, the Jays had retaken the lead, and it sucked the life out of the team.
There are all sorts of complaints to be made, certainly. Some of Boston's hard hits just found gloves, and likely cost the Sox runs. Why is Matt Albers pitching with the Blue Jays sitting on a vulnerable two-run lead? Does the team really buy into his ERA ignoring all the hard hit balls and hanging sinkers? And what's the deal with Salty batting fourth?
Excuses are plentiful, but none of them are really reasonable. Tonight the blame lies on Felix Doubront. He did not pitch well, and it's been a while since we've seen him look like the man who was the best pitcher in the rotation for the first two months. The Sox have a confusing enough rotation situation without one of their most consistent arms falling apart. It's time to step up.