It's an ugly day to be a Red Sox fan.
The game is one thing--a 7-4 loss is certainly a negative in its own right, with Jon Lester being terrible and allowing all seven runs in four innings. The Sox' offense wasn't all bad, but it didn't do what it should have given a stingy umpire and an inexperienced pitcher on the mound.
What really gets me is what's happening afterward.
Jon Lester is blaming the umpire behind home plate, claiming he had to throw the ball through a keyhole. Yes, the umpire was squeezing him in the third. A normal pitcher's response, under the circumstances, is to stop trying to paint the bottom of the strike zone and work with what they're given. Lester instead chose to stare at the umpire for long periods of time and then act put upon. Eventually, with the bases loaded by way of two walks and a single and Matt Joyce ahead in the count 3-1, Lester grooved a fastball and Joyce killed it for a grand slam.
But that's fine, because we can chalk the earned runs up to the umpire and the Red Sox don't take the loss, right?
Amazingly, NESN has taken the opportunity to praise Jon Lester for his maturity in talking to the media and
accepting shifting blame for his terrible performance. I guess it stands to reason, since they spent so much time trying to foist Josh Beckett's last bad outing onto his game of golf. When did Lester become Big Brother? Have we always been at war with Mark Carlson?
Then on the other side there's Joe Maddon, trying to act innocent in the benches-clearing "brawl" that was instigated by Franklin Morales plunking Luke Scott in the knee. The coaches ended up being the center of attention as everyone else milled about, shouting back and forth as the players tried to separate them. Oh, and B.J. Upton managed to get into it with a fan.
Now after the game Maddon is pretending that the Rays didn't plunk Adrian Gonzalez last time these teams met for daring to suggest he would hit a home run after a slump had Sox fans and media alike questioning him. It wasn't about showing up the Rays, but either way they hit our guy, so we hit theirs (Luke Scott), so they hit ours (Dustin Pedroia), so we hit theirs (Luke Scott again--which, frankly, shouldn't even need an excuse). Stop acting like this is some egregious offense rather than the standard operating procedure.
Just an ugly night all around. That the team is still stuck without a winning record would be bad enough without the circus that followed.