That's it. It's happened. The Red Sox have actually managed to play their way into a playoff race with the Tampa Bay Rays.
Their health has failed them, with Beckett and Bedard both missing starts while Youkilis deals with more nagging injuries.
Their substitutes have failed them, with Weiland and Wakefield and Miller all showing a complete inability to record outs.
Even their regulars have fallen apart. Jon Lester was just plain bad today, throwing more than 40 pitches to get through a three-run first inning and leaving after four innings and four earned runs. Daniel Bard has cost the team two potential wins in their last two series, and Dustin Pedroia looks like one of the worst players to ever swing the bat these days.
Oh, and John Lackey has failed them. John Lackey always fails them.
It's not even worth it to mention the fact that Matt Albers is done. He was given a chance to "redeem" his failure with the bases loaded in the Tim Wakefield game by coming out with, again, the bases loaded and two outs. Instead, he gave up a grand slam to essentially seal the win for the Rays.
David Ortiz is wrong when he says that everyone is to blame. Scutaro, Ellsbury, Gonzalez, and Reddick have all done well enough. The designated hitter himself hasn't been too bad, either.
But he's right when he says it's time to panic. Because...well, I'll leave it to Pedroia:
"Because if we don't we're going to home. . . If we don't play well, we go home."