Why the Red Sox shouldn't buy


Why the Red Sox shouldn't buy

Has it really been five days since Cody Rosss walk-off?

(Checks officially licensed, limited edition Fenway 100 wall calendar . . . )

Why yes. Yes it has. But Ill be damned if it feels like any fewer than 50. Of course, some of that has to do with all thats happened in the world around us. In the days since Rosss blast, weve seen the tragedy in Aurora, the removal of Joe Paternos statue and the punishment of Penn State football. Theres been enough news to fill an entire summer.

But even in a vacuum, what the Red Sox have accomplished in these five days is nothing short of remarkable. It usually takes them an entire month to drop this kind of disappointment on their fans.

On Thursday night, as Alfredo Aceves Gatorade shower rained down on home pate, the Sox were 48-45 and one game back in the wild card, with a three game set against the struggling Jays on the horizon. Today, theyre 48-49, back in the AL East basement and four games out of the wild card. To make matters worse, they have two more games against the Rangers, who have the second best record in baseball. Thats followed by three games against the Yankees, who have the best record in baseball. Then three games at home against the first place Tigers, who are 8-2 since the All Star Break and 13-2 in their last 15.

Lets be honest, this could get ugly. Its times like this when I thank God that I have the entire season of Red Sox Small Talk saved on my DVR. Thats about the only thing that could bring me out of this current depression.

And theres only one thing that could make it worse.

A trade.

But not just any trade. A dumb trade. A trade that might include names like Xander Bogaerts, Matt Barnes and Jackie Bradley. Or even Ryan Kalish and Ryan Lavarnway. A trade that sacrifices the future of this club for the sake of the delusional present. A trade that screams: Were buyers! Were in this! Weve still got a shot!

First of all, let me just say that Im cool with the Sox doing nothing at the deadline. If they want to take a page from Danny Ainges playbook and roll the dice with what theyve got . . . OK, I get it. After all, the talent is there, and its not out of the realm of possibility that the Sox could go on a run that earns them a spot in the playoffs. Even if I wouldnt mind seeing them sell off a few of their more high profiles assets (i.e. sacrifice some of the present for the future), I understand if they dont want to be sellers.

But if theyre buyers. Well, thats a problem.

If the Sox are buyers, it will prove once again how out of touch ownership is with what their real fans want. It will show how stupid they think their fans really are. That they think they can just dangle Matt Garza or Josh Johnson in front of the Fenway faithful and we'll all giggle like an army of babies: "Ooooh! Aaaahhhhh!! Thank you, Fenway Sports Group!" That we're dumb enough to be distracted by the bright lights while losing sight of the big picture. That we don't understand the truth. Which is this:

It makes no sense for the Sox to buy at this year's deadline. Making a move that sacrifices their future in the name of winning now would be akin to doubling down on 13 when the dealer's showing 10. (The 10 being the Rangers, Yankees, Tigers and any number of other teams that are better suited to succeed down the stretch). Sure, there's a slight chance you draw that eight. But if so, that's luck. That's not sustainable. At some point that strategy will come back to bite you. And that's the best case scenario.

The more likely outcome is that you'll flat out bust. That you'll take a chance at the wrong time and make a bad situation worse. Then what happens on the next hand, when you're dealt an 11 and the dealer's showing six? When the odds are in your favor and reach into your pocket only to realize that you lost all your assets doubling down on 13?

Then what do you do?

Well, you do nothing. You're stuck. You shake your head, shrug your shoulders, look back and wonder: "Man, what the hell was I thinking?"

Let's hope that that's not how we remember the 2012 deadline. That for once, the Sox resist the temptation to serve their imaginary and misguided version of what fans really want and do the right thing.

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

Merloni: ‘Missed opportunities left and right’ for Red Sox

Merloni: ‘Missed opportunities left and right’ for Red Sox

Lou Merloni talks about the Red Sox losing 6 out of the last 7 games and if David Price should have stayed in the game for the 9th inning.

McAdam: Red Sox at a loss after excruciating defeat

McAdam: Red Sox at a loss after excruciating defeat

There are still two full months of games left on the schedule and who knows what might happen in that time, or what else might befall the Red Sox.

But for now, it's no stretch to suggest that Thursday's excruciating 2-1 setback in Anaheim constitutes the worst loss of the season to date. The point hardly seems debatable.


THE TIMING: This was the start of the longest, and in many ways, most challenging road trip of the season, with 11 games in 11 days. It comes immediately after a homestand that was highly disappointing, featuring a mere split with the last-place Minnesota Twins and a sweep at the hands of the otherwise mediocre Detroit Tigers.

There's been a great deal of attention focused on how many road games the Sox have to play through the rest of the season. Winning the opener -- and snapping a three-game losing streak in the process - would have felt like a strong statement that the club was ready and able to meet the challenges of the schedule.

THE STARTING PITCHER: The loss wiped out a standout performance by David Price, who may well hold the key to whether the Red Sox grab a playoff spot this fall.

Price has been woefully inconsistent in his first season with the Red Sox, alternating between brief stretches of dominance and periods of underwhelming outings.

For a change Thursday night, Price seemed on the verge of winning one of those "statement'' games, when he would make one measly run in the third inning stand up. There have been too many times, given his standing as the team's No. 1 starter, in which Price has pitched just well enough to lose -- like the pitcher's duels in which he came up short against the likes of Madison Bumgarner and Chris Tillman.

But on Thursday, Price didn't buckle. And never mind that he was matched against an aging and depleted Jered Weaver. Price had next-to-nothing with which to work, but he protected the 1-0 lead with a determination he has seldon shown in Boston.

And for his effort to go wasted sets an inauspicious marker for this demanding trip. There was something symbolic about having Price set the tone at the start with a low-scoring, must-have game.

He did his part. Unfortunately for Price, that wasn't enough.

THE WAY IN WHICH IT HAPPENED: Walk-off losses are never pleasant, whether they come on a homer, or a base hit up the middle.

But considering that the Red Sox had the ability to turn Daniel Nava's tapper to first into a game-ending double play, and instead, saw it result in a two-run throwing error on the part of Hanley Ramirez, makes it all the more crushing.

Brad Ziegler, who gave up a go-ahead game-winning homer in the final game of the homestand Wednesday, essentially did his job in the ninth. He got Mike Trout to hit a chopper, which resulted in an infield single. And he kept the ball on the ground and in the infield, with the Sox bringing the infield in with the bases loaded and one out.

Better execution, and the Red Sox walk away with a thrilling 1-0 victory to begin their West Coast trek. Instead, they walk off the field, heads down, with the wrong precedent being set.