Are the Red Sox done?
The 2010 Red Sox remind me of the Tampa Bay Rays ... of 2009. Doesn't it have that feel? Slow start, blown games, whistling-through-the-graveyard talk of "Oh, it's early .. the season is a marathon, not a sprint ... it's only May'' and blah, blah, blah. There's an old adage in baseball: You can't win the pennant in the first two months of the year, but you can lose it. Right now, the Red Sox are losing it. Last night's loss was devastating. Down 5-0 to the arch-rival Yanks, the Red Sox hit five homers and took a 9-7 lead to the bottom of the ninth. And then close Jonathan Papelbon's ninth inning went like this: double, fly out, home run, fly out, hit batter, home run. And that's your ball game.
The loss left the Red Sox in fourth place -- 6 1/2 games behind the Yankees and 8 1/2 behind the Rays. The loss also left Red Sox Nation in a panic, as you can read here in this Boston Globe blog post.
Meantime, while we're talking Rays, Yankees and Red Sox, check this out. Here are the stats for three relievers:
Reliever No. 1: 17 games, 2-0 record, 10 saves, no blown saves, 2.86 ERA.
Reliever No. 2: 13 games, 0-0 record, seven saves, one blown save, 1.59 ERA.
Reliever No. 3: 17 games, 1-3 record, nine saves, one blown save, 3.32 ERA.
Reliever No. 1 is Tampa Bay's Rafael Soriano. Reliever No. 2 is the Yankees' Mariano Rivera. Reliever No. 3 is Papelbon. Now, if I had to get through one inning to win the World Series, Rivera is my pick. He's the greatest closer in major-league history and still probably the best in the game today. And, Soriano isn't going to go through all season perfect. But Papelbon has to be a concern for the Red Sox. Then again, with a 19-20 record, the Red Sox have a lot of concerns right now.