McAdam: Sox folds becoming routine

McAdam: Sox folds becoming routine
August 18, 2012, 5:22 am
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NEW YORK -- When the Red Sox last visited Yankee Stadium and dropped the first game of a three-game weekend series, second baseman Dustin Pedroia complained that the Sox had rolled over in the late innings of a 10-3 shellacking, needlessly giving away at-bats.
Pedroia didn't offer the same criticism Friday night when the Sox lost another series opener to the Yankees under suspiciously similar circumstances, even though the final score -- New York 6, Boston 4 -- was more respectable.
In fact, Pedroia didn't say anything at all. As reporters waited to speak to him, Pedroia turned and walked out without comment.
It's impossible to know what was on Pedroia's mind and it's folly to try to guess. But had he chosen to speak, he could have been excused for uttering the very same words he had spoken on the night of July 27.
"We didn't do anything. Our at-bats later in the game were not good -- swinging early in the count and hacking... Do something productive. And we're not doing that. That's a sign of not a winning team. It's frustrating."
Three weeks later, not much has changed. Pedroia brought the Sox back from a 3-0 deifict in the third when he banged a three-run homer to left field off Phil Hughes, giving the Sox a 4-3 lead.
But after that third inning eruption, the Sox managed just three more baserunners the rest of the way.
In three of the final four innings, the Sox were retired 1-2-3.
The Sox, who have had success against Hughes in the past, had succeeded in running his pitch count up in the early innings.
"We kind of let Hughes off the hook," lamented manager Bobby Valentine. "We had him on the ropes there. He had 77 pitches in four (innings) and then gave them a couple of innings where we hit some balls real early in the count and got him back in the game."
Indeed, after averaging almost 20 pitches an inning through the first four, Hughes needed just 29 pitches over the final three frames. In two of those innings, the Sox got a baserunner on first base, but failed to advance him either time.
"Very frustrating," sighed Carl Crawford of the offensive showing. "Could have been you've got to give credit to (Hughes) and we probably had some bad at-bats. Probably a combination of both."
The Sox worked exactly one walk over nine innings and, beyond third -- during which all four of their runs were unearned -- never pieced together a sniff of a threat.
The impatient approach didn't change when the Yankees went to the bullpen, either. David Robertson got three outs (and allowed a single) on 11 pitches, while closer Rafael Soriano set the Sox down in order on 14 pitches.
It's one thing to lose games, as the Red Sox have been doing with increasingly regularlity. But it's another thing entirely to fold after falling behind. Sadly, that, too, is becoming something of a hallmark in the last month.