One week ago, Red Sox fans were on top of the world. 20-8, the best in baseball, their rotation rolling and the bullpen about to get better with the return of Craig Breslow (and ostensibly Joel Hanrahan).
Today, they are losers of five-of-six, with a Stephen Drew walkoff the only thing between them and a six-game losing streak. The fourth spot in the rotation is a smoking crater left from the meltdown of Allen Webster and Felix Doubront Wednesday night. Andrew Bailey is hurt, Joel Hanrahan is terrible (and also hurt), and even Craig Breslow is struggling in his return. Oh, and David Ortiz' hit streak ended for good measure. They are still eight games over .500, but that's not so impressive when it's coming from twelve over.
Of course, these things happen. We aren't exactly used to a good team playing badly, at least not without it costing them in a big way. The 2011 Red Sox played badly for a while. It cost them everything. The 2012 Red Sox were just plain bad. Even as far back as 2009, when they went in the hole, they went in the hole as the postseason began and were swept out by the Angels.
Still, the 2007 Red Sox went 1-6 between May 30th and June 6th, 1-5 between June 25th and July 1st, and 1-5 again between September 14th and 19th. The 2004 edition suffered a five-game losing streak to start may (curiously enough, kicked off by a three-game sweep at the hands of the Rangers), suffered a 1-5 stretch to end that same month, and had a 2-7 period around the end of June and beginning of July that can make two different 1-5 stretches.
The upshot of all this is that the Red Sox have trouble around the ends of months. No, wait, that's not it. It's that even good teams--World Series winning teams--struggle at times. It's not only possible, but almost inevitable that the good will, for a time, look bad.
On the other hand, it's always possible for the bad to look good, and that's were doubt creeps in. 30 games is not such a small sample size, but it does happen that a team starts strong and ends the season on the bottom. It happens often enough, in fact, that it's almost impossible not to be concerned after these last few games. Especially in a town with the history--both recent and distant--of Boston.
So, Boston fans, where do you come down on the spectrum? Are you in full-blown panic, or simply riding out the storm? Are the Red Sox a good team playing badly? Or a mediocre team that hid behind a hot start? And is Angel Hernandez seriously still an umpire?!
Read more Red Sox:
- Stephen Drew gets his revenge on the Twins
- Should Allen Webster replace Felix Doubront?
- John Hirschbeck and the league’s growing umpire problem
- Is Anthony Ranaudo a top prospect again?
- Could the Red Sox pursue a trade for Cliff Lee?