It's hard to think of what to say.
Which is strange because there is so much baseball to cover. There's the Red Sox maddening inability to hit with runners on base. There's Jacoby Ellsbury making a damn fine catch then dropping it while hitting the wall on what ended up being a three run inside the park homer. There's Josh Beckett melting down (again) in the biggest game of the year against a crappy team. There's Terry Francona leaving him out there despite signs of him tiring (again). There's Francona leaving a struggling Jarrod Saltalamacchia in to hit with the bases loaded while Ryan Lavarnway atrophies on the bench. It all adds up to another in a seemingly endless assembly line of losses.
The whole thing makes me sick. It's hard to stomach at least in part because it's hard to understand it. How does an 82-59 team, a team vying for the very best record in all of baseball, lose 20 of their next 26 games? Yet, and forgive my dramatics, but what Red Sox fan wants to analyze this stuff (very tempted to use a stronger word than stuff there)? What Red Sox fan wants to get forearm deep in the forensics of 6-19? Rightfully, the media will be all over this situation, some of which will be crap and some of which will be right on. But that's one of the differences between blogs and the mainstream media. Those guys are not fans. They're writers and reporters, often very good at their jobs, but in the end they root for the story. Marc, Ben, Matt, Lone1c and I, we all root for the Red Sox. I won't speak for them, but this hurts.
It hurts because it hurts, but it hurts because it came from nowhere. Losing the ALCS to the Yankees in 2003 was really hard to take. It took a long time to just get up from my chair after that homer ended the series and the season. This feels like that, but drawn out, excruciatingly, over a month. There are still two games left in the season and the Red Sox still have the opportunity to win those games and make the playoffs. Thing is, I'm not sure if that's good news or bad.
The Red Sox may have blown an unblowable (not actually a word) lead, but they haven't lost the Wild Card. Not yet. What they might have lost is... no, not their dignity. What they might have lost is their... no, not their playoff spot. Well, actually yes, that, but please, stop interrupting me. What they might have lost is their starting catcher. Jarrod Saltalamacchia took a nasty foul tip off his right shoulder. X-rays were negative, and the catcher's availability is up in the air for today's game. So you might see Ryan Lavarnway after all.
Apologies for the editorializing. More links after the jump.
Surviving Grady has pretty much had enough.
Barry Petchesky at Deadspin has an interesting take on the Boston media and their love of peddling the myth of big market superiority. I gotta say, I'm buying it 100%.
Andy Andres teaches a class at Tufts University on Sabermetrics. He has a (free) guest column over at Baseball Prospectus where he talks about the evolution of the class and, maybe more interestingly, it's pupils. If I lived back in the Boston area I would totally take his class.
I'm sure the Providence Journal has some worthwhile pieces up, but their site is down while I'm writing so I recommend you just surf over to their site and check out what they have to say.
Joy of Sox has the right gif for all your Red Sox related needs.
Finally, all you Sports Guy fans should read this.