FenwayOct102010

How the Red Sox imploded in the space of two weeks

Rightfully, the rhetorical bombs slamming the Red Sox are the greatest show of emotion they have endured for at least 10 years.

The fuse finally finished burning, launching the salvos after Sunday’s horrific loss to the Blue Jays. When folks recall this edition of the Red Sox and how they imploded in the space of two weeks, George Springer’s three-run bomb off Matt Barnes will be remembered as the moment they scraped bottom.

It turned an 8-6 lead, which needed protection for just four more outs, into enough proverbial spittle to carry the Titanic into the iceberg.

In 2011, the Red Sox botched their season in epic fashion. In short, they went 7-20 in the month of September. They never had a particularly big lead, but they were in first place for more than two months. And once first place slipped from their grasp, there was no great angst. They looked to be a sure thing for the wild-card.

They blew that on the final night of the season, losing to the Orioles in Baltimore on an excruciating blown save by Jonathan Papelbon. About 10 seconds later, he Rays nailed down a win over the Yankees. New York won the division. Tampa Bay took the wild-card.

The Red Sox fired Terry Francona. Theo Epstein took his front office abilities to Wrigley Field.

Bobby Valentine came on as manager and the 2012 Red Sox celebrated Fenway Park’s 100th anniversary season by going 69-93. The good news? That set the stage for 2013’s utterly improbable run for another World Series title.

This Red Sox team has not shown nearly enough ability to dig out from their collapse and turn this into an historic comeback. 

The most popular theory as to why the Red Sox have tanked is that the uniformed personnel are angry that the team made no significant moves at the trade deadline.

Nonsense.

Baseball is the most individual team sport there is. It is far-fetched to believe that when Xander Bogaerts steps into the batters box thinking to himself, “To hell with this, we didn’t try to get better at the trade deadline so I’m not going to try now.”

Many of us who fell for the Red Sox’ unexpected rise that reached its peak a month ago. None of us enjoys saying that we could not have been more wrong.

Alas, we were.

As Francona typically says when asked about a player or team that falls flat, “After 162 games, you usually end up about where you are supposed to be.”

And so it will be for these Red Sox.

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