Red Sox 3, Yankees 9: Boston's rock crumbles

Jared Wickerham

Three weeks into the season, Jon Lester was the one man the Red Sox could depend on. Tuesday he fell to pieces.

Two days ago, the Red Sox finally seemed to have found a spark. Winners of four-of-five, they were back to their old selves, putting together good at bats and scoring runs. Even a close loss to the Orioles on Monday held promise, with the Sox coming up just short despite a number of bad bounces.

One 9-3 drubbing at the hands of the Yankees later, and the spark is gone. The Red Sox are lifeless once more, the atmosphere firmly back into the territory of the depressing.

This game was billed as a top pitching matchup between Masahiro Tanaka and Jon Lester. And while it was hard to call the Red Sox favorites going in given the unimpressive lineup they brought to the game, their headlining starter was the last thing fans expected to go wrong.

But go wrong Jon Lester did. You can make all the excuses you want: the umps weren't forgiving, the defense behind him was poor (as per usual), he didn't get many lucky bounces. None of that changes the fact that he was actually just bad Tuesday night. There was nothing lucky about Jacoby Ellsbury nearly leaving the park in his first at bat. There was nothing lucky about the four doubles he surrendered. If Jon Lester got lucky, it was in the fact that Mike Napoli was close enough to a 2-out line drive in the fifth that the scorekeeper saw fit to deem a head-height rocket off his glove an error rather than a base hit, leaving four of Lester's runs unearned.

Lester may not have lived up to his billing, but Masahiro Tanaka certainly did. There was one bright spot for the lineup, with David Ortiz and Mike Napoli hitting back-to-back homers in the fourth. But in the face of New York's dominance that bright spot looks awfully dim.

Three games out of .500 with a weary bullpen and a rotation that has spent the last week getting knocked around, to say nothing of an offense that may have just gone back to sleep after a two-game resurgence. The situation in Fenway Park is getting dire.

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