McAdam: Red Sox play the blame game

McAdam: Red Sox play the blame game
May 11, 2011, 4:03 pm
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By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com

TORONTO -- There's more than one reason why the Red Sox have yet to reach .500 this season, and on Tuesday night, the start of their five-game road trip, there was more than one reason why they failed again.

There was the oversized pothole dug for them by starter Jon Lester, who lost both command and control of his emotions in a first inning that saw the lefty walk three, including one with the bases loaded.

There was the by-now standard inability to deliver the big hit when it was needed most. The Sox stranded 12 and in one particularly frustrating inning, the seventh, couldn't get a run after putting the first two hitters on base.

There was the home run allowed by DanielBard with the score tied in the eighth,which meant Adrian Gonzalez' ninth-inning homer tied, and didn't win, the game.

But ultimately, as the Sox slipped back to 17-19 with a 7-6, 10-inning defeat to the Toronto Blue Jays, it was the team's helplessness in the bottom of the final inning which sealed their fate and left them 0-for-3 in games which could have brought them back to the break-even point.

The Red Sox knew that Rajai Davis was going to run. What was left of the undersized crowd at Rogers Centre knew it, too. But the Red Sox could do nothing to stop Davis, ultimately, from stealing this game from them.

Matt Albers had worked an efficient ninth inning, but quickly fell behind Davis 3-and-1 with one out in the bottom of the 10th.

"In that situation,'' said Albers, "I'm not going to walk him. I'm going to make him hit the ball. He hit a chopper to the right spot which got into center field."

But Davis was just getting started.

The Red Sox called for a pitchout as Davis broke for second. But even with that, catcher Jason Varitek one-hopped his throw and Davis slid in safely.

"We had the pitchout,'' recounted Varitek. "We had the right thing. I wasn't able to gain as much as ground as I would have liked in making the throw. It ended up bang-bang."

"If we get the ball in the air to second,'' said Terry Francona, "we've got him.''

Davis wasn't done, however.

Francona said infield coach Tim Bogar tried to get rookie shortstop Jose Iglesias's attention to hold Davis closer to the second-base bag, but couldn't.

"Maybe a little bit of inexperience on Iggy's part,'' said Francona, "just not getting tight enough. It certainly changed the way we had to defense the Jays the rest of the inning."

Albers, however, took the blame for not doing a better job in keeping Davis anchored.

"I shouldn't have let him steal third,'' he said. "That was on me. I've got to keep him closer and keep him at second. It's unfortunate. You know he's going to go.''

"Third . . . it was . . . no contest," recounted Varitek. "Hindsight, you can always say that you could have done this or that. But I wasn't able to make a throw."

Not that the Sox were surrpised by Davis's decision to take off for third, even though he was already in scoring position.

"Not in the least bit,'' said Varitek. "He was that way in Oakland. He's got accelerated speed. By no means were we surprised.''

From there, all the Blue Jays needed was a simple sacrifice fly, which they got from rookie David Cooper. A routine flyout to center, which would have been the second out had David been kept at second, instead Sox sent the Sox to their second extra-inning loss in the last six days.

Plenty of blame, indeed. But not enough answers for a team which has found merely getting back to even much harder than it ever could have imagined.

Sean McAdam can be reached at smcadam@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam