Boston Red Sox

Red Sox in shambles with little hope in sight

872703.jpg

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

Red Sox move closer to AL East title with 5-0 win over Reds

red_sox_mitch_moreland_092317.jpg

Red Sox move closer to AL East title with 5-0 win over Reds

CINCINNATI - Mitch Moreland ended his long slump with a three-run homer, Eduardo Rodriguez pitched three-hit ball into the eighth inning, and the Boston Red Sox took another step toward a second straight AL East title, beating the Cincinnati Reds 5-0 on Saturday.

Boston has won 13 of 16, holding off the Yankees as it tries to win back-to-back East titles for the first time since divisional realignment in 1969. The Red Sox have their best record of the season at 90-64, reaching 90 wins for the second year in a row.

They remain four games in front of the Yankees, who beat Toronto 5-1.

Moreland was in an 0-for-19 slump when he connected off Robert Stephenson (5-6) in the sixth inning, his 20th homer of the season but only his second in September. The Red Sox are last in the AL with 160 homers.

Rodriguez (6-6) has given up two or fewer earned runs in each of his last four starts, the best stretch of his career. The left-hander gave up three singles and two walks in 7 2/3 innings, his longest outing since May 21.

The Red Sox have shutout victories in three of their last four games, including two at Baltimore. They are 7-1 on a trip that ends Sunday. Boston wraps up the regular season at Fenway Park with three games against Toronto and four against Houston.

Red Sox outfielder Andrew Benintendi, who grew up in suburban Madeira and had hundreds of relatives and friends in the stands for the series, singled home a run in the seventh at the ballpark where he regularly attended games as a youth.

CSNNE SCHEDULE

Betts (foot), Pedroia (knee) out of Red Sox lineup

boston-red-sox-mookie-betts-dustin-pedroia-92317.jpg

Betts (foot), Pedroia (knee) out of Red Sox lineup

Mookie Betts, who fouled a ball off his left foot Friday night, and Dustin Pedroia, who has been bothered by a knee injury almost all season, were out of the Red Sox lineup Saturday against the Reds in Cincinnati.

Chris Young started in right field for Betts and Brock Holt at second base for Pedroia.

Betts was scratched from the original lineup but was a late scratch. Pedroia, who had been getting intermittent days off to rest his knee was originally expected to play but needed treatement and hopes to be able to play Sunday, according to Scott Lauber of ESPN. 

Manager John Farrell told reporters, including Christopher Smith of MassLive.com, that Betts "was hindered by it last night in the second half of that game. [He] woke up a little bit more sore. Went through treatment. But felt it was best to give him a day to fully recover and get some additional treatment."

The manager added that Betts was available to pinch hit Saturday and did not have X-rays, but that step could be taken if there's no improvement in the next 24 hours.