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Red Sox 1, Padres 2: Another horrendous outing for the lineup

One run in eighteen innings, and seven of them against Edwin Jackson? Horrendous is actually generous.

Boston Red Sox v San Diego Padres Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images

Typically, a 2-1 loss like this would not be quite such a travesty. But today’s game was all about context, so...let’s provide some context. Some awful, awful context.

Edwin Jackson entered the game with a 6.26 ERA. In his last three games, he had thrown 11.2 innings, struck out five batters, walked ten, and allowed 18 runs. Eighteen! He couldn’t even get the Braves or Rays out.

The Red Sox, meanwhile, are the best offensive team in baseball, but had just gotten through putting up a huge zero against Kendall Graveman and the Athletics. Still, that meant they had scored 27 runs in three games.

The Jays, for their tangential part in this story, had fallen to the Yankees, leaving the Red Sox with a chance to get back into first after Sunday’s disappointing loss.

The Red Sox had what amounts to a gimme here. And they failed utterly to take advantage.

I would love to call this a failure of gameplan, but it wasn’t. Edwin Jackson is not much of a strike thrower, so it made sense for the Red Sox to go up there and look to take pitches. But when it became clear that Jackson was going to throw the best offense in baseball strikes and dare them to hit them, they adjusted, and started swinging earlier and more often.

Given that that’s off the table, I’d love to say this was a matter of luck. Against Graveman, the Red Sox had hit into a lot of hard outs. Those games will happen. But this was not one of them. The Sox had some long fly balls, sure, but this was not a parade of line drives slammed directly into gloves.

No, this was Jackson, who has not had the ability to sit batters down with any regularity since he started his dramatic decline in 2013, taking the Red Sox and making them look like chumps. He threw them strikes, the Red Sox swung, the Red Sox missed.

This was particularly true of the bottom third of the lineup. You can’t expect anything from the pitcher, no, but those strikeouts of Yoan Moncada’s came back to bite him today with a hat trick, and Bryan Holaday was just as useless as he’s been at the plate since coming to Boston. He is now 4-for-28 with the Red Sox.

And so the nine scoreless inning stretch became ten, twelve, fourteen, sixteen. Almost two full games worth without a run from the Red Sox, with seven of those innings against a guy four years past his expiration date with an ERA in Sean O’Sullivan territory.

Chris Young finally ended that by going deep when he pinch-hit for Holaday and got to face someone other than Jackson, taking Brad Hand deep to make it a one-run game. Very briefly, it even looked like the Sox had tied things up when, with one down and Aaron Hill on third, a swinging strike three from Sandy Leon got away and let the run come in to score. But the home plate umpire sent Hill back, as the pitch had hit Leon after he swung at it, making it (correctly) both strike three and a dead ball. Xander Bogaerts struck out behind him, ending the inning and the threat, and not even a David Ortiz pinch-hit appearance in the ninth could save the Sox after that.

For those keeping track, the Red Sox are now 2-2 over a period where they’ve allowed seven runs and scored 28. Just unreal.