From May 26th to June 1st, the Red went 7-0. It looked for all the world like the team that just put itself out of contention with a ten-game losing streak was ready to fight its way right back into the thick of things.
From June 2nd to June 7th, the Red Sox went 0-5.
So when the Red Sox went on an 8-1 tear surrounding the All-Star break, this is perhaps the backlash we should have expected all along. After a particularly depressing 8-0 rout at the hands of the Toronto Blue Jays, the Red Sox have been put firmly back in their place some eight games below .500.
If you care for the unfortunate details of this one, it can be summed up in a hurry: Rubby De La Rosa threw two different pitches, and that's just not enough to record outs as a major league starter, particularly once the word is out. Rubby threw all of three non-changeup, non-fastball pitches Thursday afternoon, and with his changeup spending more time in the zone than his fastball, the Jays just decided to wait for the off-speed offering to come in, then hammer it.
Of Rubby's seventeen changeups, eleven induced swings. The Blue Jays made contact on eight of those, each one winding up in play, four of them for hits, including an RBI double and a two-run homer. The pitch that was such a weapon for him earlier in the season has been rendered toothless by predictability. And even when the Jays weren't in a position to just sit and wait on the changeup, De La Rosa could not get either his two-seam or four-seam fastball past the Toronto batters.
The Red Sox were behind in the first by one, then three in the second, and five in the third. By the time the Jays piled on another pair in the fifth, though, focus had shifted to the other starting pitcher in Marcus Stroman, who was five innings into a no-hitter. Where De La Rosa threw a fastball and a changeup, Stroman attacked the Red Sox with a slider, changeup, and curveball in addition to his harder stuff, forcing them to give credit to all his pitches and keeping them looking out of rhythm at the plate as he switched between three different offerings all coming in around the mid-80s in terms of velocity.
Stroman's approach did not make for efficient outs, leaving some question whether he'd be given a chance to throw well over his usual pitch count to pursue a no-hitter. John Gibbons never had to answer that question, however, as Shane Victorino led off the seventh inning with a weak single to center field, breaking up the no-hit bid. Of course, in typical Red Sox fashion, Mike Napoli would erase him from the basepaths with a double play. Somehow in a game where they collected all of one hit, the Red Sox still managed to hit into three twin killings.
But wait, there's more! With the Red Sox down to their last out, David Ortiz left the game after apparently injuring himself on a checked swing.
Yes, the Red Sox' dead cat bounce is in the rearview mirror now, leaving only the fall ahead.