Red Sox in shambles with little hope in sight

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Red Sox in shambles with little hope in sight

58-16.

You know, if baseball was any other professional sport, wed all find a little solace in whats happened to the Red Sox. By this point, these guys would have already become our 1992 Pats or 2007 Celtics, where the frustration of late season disaster is outweighed by hopes of draft day glory.

In any other sport, wed look at the standings and say, Wow. The Sox are only four games out of a top five pick! They can do this. They can suck! And wed measure every loss as a calculated victory; a steppingstone toward the instant gratification of some game-changing prospect.

Its a delusional mentality. The ultimate case of making lemonade out of lemons, especially when theres always a chance that the lemonade tastes like crap (See: 2007 NBA lottery). But its a nice consolation when your team goes belly up.

However, thats not baseball. In baseball, top prospects disappear for at least a year, and even then, theres a better chance that your No. 1 pick has Tommy John surgery within the first 18 months than contributes at the Major League level. Sure, the bad teams still get the best players, but the concept of those best players is nowhere near as sexy, and barely a serviceable distraction.

Hell, this morning, it barely distracted this post for 200 words.

Anyway, where was I?

Oh, right. 58-16.

Thats the tally on the Sox current seven-game losing streak their longest since 2001, by the way. Check that again: 58-16. In other words, theyve been outscored by 42 runs in seven games. And while Fridays 20-2 loss in Oakland might skew the absurdity a little, getting outscored by 24 runs in six games is nothing to sneeze at it. By any calculation, this season has become a full on joke. An embarrassment.

I guess one positive is that things aren't as bad as last year. Last year, we believed in this team up until the very last out. We didnt understand the depth or detail of their malfunction and still somehow trusted that theyd overcome the obstacles and make it to the playoffs. And of course, once they were in, anything was possible.

This year, hopes for the playoffs were just about dead by mid-August and were delivered a lethal injection of cyanide with THE TRADE at the end of the month. By the time this recent road trip started, we'd already flipped the page on 2012; a turnaround was more unlikely than last year's collapse. So like I said, it makes this recent mess a little easier to swallow.

After all, by ditching Beckett and clearing up enough pay roll to buy Greece, this season is already a victory. A victory in light of all kinds of ugliness, but still a victory. A step in the right direction. The Sox could lose every game from here on out, and they'd still be in better shape organizationally than they were two months ago.

And you know what? Losing every game might not be a bad idea.

After all, they're only 10 games behind the Cubs for the No. 2 overall pick.

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

Weird umpire replay mistake helps Red Sox to record-tying 20 Ks

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Weird umpire replay mistake helps Red Sox to record-tying 20 Ks

New York’s mistake helped the Red Sox, and they weren’t playing the Yankees.

The Red Sox struck out 20 in a game for the third time in franchise history on Thursday night, and they were able to do so only after MLB’s replay team — based in Manhattan — gave Craig Kimbrel an extra batter to strike out in the ninth inning.

A 6-2 win over the Rangers featured 16 strikeouts for Red Sox pitching heading into the top of the ninth at Fenway Park. Kimbrel came on for a non-save situation because he had five days off previously.

There’s always that outside chance for a four-strikeout inning, and it happened. Even for a four-strikeout inning, however, this was bizarre.

The first batter, lefthanded hitting Nomar Mazara, swung and missed at a back-foot breaking ball for strike 3 — a literal back-foot breaking ball, because it hit him in that foot after he whiffed on the pitch.

On a swing and a miss with a pitch that hits the batter, the ball should be dead. He should not have been able to reach first base. But the umpires didn’t catch the ball hitting Mazara, and instead saw it as a wild pitch. 

Sox manager John Farrell asked for a review and the umpires went for one, but came back empty-handed. The crew was told, erroneously, that the play could not be looked at and the batter was awarded first base.

“It was just a swinging strike three, ball that go away and he obviously reached first base,” crew chief Alfonso Marquez told pool reporter Tim Britton of the Providence Journal. “The only thing that I can tell you, and the only thing I will say is, this was a replay issue. New York will come out with a statement.”

You could say it worked out just fine. Kimbrel went on to strike out the next three, and got the Sox to 20 Ks.

Kimbrel and Tim Wakefield are the only Red Sox pitchers to fan four batters in a single inning. Wakefield did it in the ninth inning on Aug. 10, 1999. 

Kimbrel did it once before as well, when he was with the Braves on Sept. 26, 2012.

No one has struck out five in a major league inning, although Kimbrel has as good a chance as anyone.

“The guy strikes out the world,” Matt Barnes said. “It’s ridiculous. … His fastball is seemingly unhittable. Complement that with the breaking ball he’s got, which comes right off that same plane, when he’s commanding it like he is, the numbers kind of speak for themselves. It’s kind of ridiculous. It’s fun to watch.”

The Sox have struck out 20 in a nine-inning game three times since 1913. Roger Clemens' two 20-strikeout games are the other two.

Red Sox win 4th straight behind stellar outing from Pomeranz, 6-2

Red Sox win 4th straight behind stellar outing from Pomeranz, 6-2

BOSTON - Drew Pomeranz pitched six strong innings and tied his career high with 11 strikeouts to lift the Boston Red Sox to a 6-2 victory over the Texas Rangers on Thursday night.

Xander Bogaerts and Deven Marrero hit their first home runs of the season helping Boston to their fourth straight win.

Pomeranz (4-3) made it as far as six innings for the third time this season and beat Texas for the first time in nine career outings.

Elvis Andrus homered and Nomar Mazara had two hits and an RBI for Texas, which has lost four of five overall and has lost 15 of 21 on the road.

Andrew Benintendi and Mitch Moreland had RBI singles in the first inning as Boston got to Rangers pitcher Nick Martinez (1-3) early.