It is a universally acknowledged truth that a starting pitcher, in possession of a modicum of talent and a respectably sized ego, must be in search of a win. However, it is also universally acknowledged that when one is facing a pitcher of the caliber of Felix Hernandez, that a strong performance will be required to ensure a victory. More importantly, and unfortunately, it is further recognized that when your starting pitcher puts up a line of:
3.2 innings pitched, 7 hits, 7 earned runs, 2 walks, 3 strikeouts, 1 home run,
a win is going to be hard to come by indeed.
John Lackey, coming off a nine-inning shutout against Minnesota, followed up his gem with something that could at best extremely charitably be treated as pyrite, but by all rights should be buried as toxic waste. Well, not all of it—the first inning went well, with Endy Chavez's single being erased by James Jones grounding into a double play. The third inning was also a 1-2-3 inning, with no balls hit out of the infield. In between however, there was a home run surrendered to Logan Morrison.
However, in those same three innings, the Red Sox had even managed, through some miracle, to briefly take a lead. In the first inning, a Pedroia single plus a throwing error led to a two-out run when David Ortiz singled to center. The Red Sox would answer Morrison's homer with one of their own, as Mike Napoli hit a Fernandez offering to left field, making it 2-1 after three and a half frames.
Of course, it was in the bottom of the fourth inning that the wheels came off in dismally spectacular fashion, as hit after hit piled up against Lackey, and the inning turned a close game into a rout. In sequence, a double, two singles, a walk, a fielder's choice, a wild pitch, another walk, another single, and a triple plated six runs for the Mariners, leaving the Sox in a 7-2 hole which, unlike the 2013 Red Sox, was essentially an insurmountable obstacle. The damage was only halted when Jones hit a bunt back to reliever Chris Capuano; however, given what came before, it seemed more like an invocation of a mercy rule than anything else.
While Capuano staunched the bleeding in the fourth, he was also responsible for his fair share of the dumpster fire, giving up one run in the sixth and then four more in the seventh, when he gave up four hits and a wild pitch without registering a single out in the process. Craig Breslow's outing had lots of drama—at least in the seventh inning, when he managed to load the bases but also managed not to give up a run, and got through the eighth allowing only a walk.
Of course, having surrendered so many runs to the Mariners, the punchless Sox were held in check by the formidable Hernandez, who went another three innings with only singles to Daniel Nava and Dustin Pedroia. Nava would make it as far as to third base, but he was the only runner in scoring position the Sox would have until the top of the ninth inning, when AJ Placeholder made himself useful for once and scored Ortiz on a sacrifice fly.
This is definitely a "take the blue pill" evening. We can only hope for better Tuesday night; however, with Jake Peavy as the probable starter, a run on blue pills might not be inadvisable.