3 things we learned: Sox in freefall

3 things we learned: Sox in freefall
August 24, 2014, 6:00 am
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BOSTON - Three things we "learned" about the Red Sox in their 7-3 loss to the Mariners.

1. Another home game, another loss

Did you see how I put "learned" in quotations up above? Yeah, that was for a reason. Did I really "learn" anything about this team on Saturday? No, not at all.

They had a lead, they lost a lead. Their starting pitcher unraveled in one inning, despite getting ahead in counts (four of the seven batters who got hits were at one point behind in the count). The same things have happened to this team earlier this week. Clay Buchholz imploded on Wednesday against the Astros. Koji Uehara imploded on Friday against these same Mariners, though he got ahead in counts too.

It almost feels like you're watching a little league game - or a beer league softball game - where one inning just gets away from a team and they're toast the rest of the way.

Brock Holt summed it up perfectly after Friday night's dramatic loss in the 9th: "If that's not the tale of how this season's gone than I don't know what is."

This is what happens to teams around this time of season with nothing to play for. They find ways to lose. They lose leads to teams with something to play for.

I'm not saying the Sox have given up - I haven't seen that out there. Generally speaking, I don't believe that players "tank" just as I don't believe they collectively give up. But it's easy to let the losses get you down to the point where you almost expect to lose.

The Red Sox will play the last game of the their longest homestand in three years (11 games) on Sunday. The fact that they've now lost seven games in a row, and eight of 10 should tell you just how bad it is now. They go into Sunday's game with a 29-39 record at Fenway Park. If the last few games are any indication, they'll find a way to make that 29-40.

2. Please, anybody but Big Papi.

In the bottom of the 6th inning, Charlie Furbush drilled David Ortiz on the left elbow with a 92-mph fastball.

Ortiz was not pleased at all (I won't repeat the words I heard all the way up in the press box). He appeared to be hurting a bit too, wincing in pain and flexing the left elbow repeatedly. Ortiz would stay in the game initially, but did not bat in the 9th inning, leaving with a left elbow contusion.

But before that, things were settled on the baseball diamond.

There has been plenty of debate over the topic of pitchers intentionally throwing at batters, in retribution or not.

Well, Alex Wilson won't admit it - obviously - but he intentionally threw at and hit Robinson Cano in the backside the very next inning with a 93-mph fastball.

Cano had to know it was coming. The Mariners hit the Red Sox best (and only) offensive weapon, and there Cano was with the bases empty and one out with his team up by four runs. First pitch, too.

It ended there though, as it should have. Home plate umpire Angel Hernandez dished out warnings to both sides. There were no ejections. There was no jawing from each side of the dugout, or anything of the sort. Wilson didn't go high on Cano, he just did what baseball's "unwritten rules" allow for.

Like it or not.

3. Don't tell David Ross these games don't matter.

David Ross is one of the nicer guys you will come across in baseball. I can't speak for anybody else, but in my first year covering the Red Sox he's been a pretty pleasant guy to speak with.

First base umpire Vic Carapazza may disagree.

With one out in the bottom of the 8th inning and a man on second, Ross checked his swing on a full count. As he headed towards first base, he got the bad news. Carapazza rang him up.

That's when Ross got angry. And it sure looked like you wouldn't like him when he's angry.

He headed right towards Carapazza and needed John Farrell and the rest of the umpiring crew to intervene before he did bad things (note: I don't think he would have actually done anything).

But Ross got tossed. He was really fired up and certainly earned the ejection. It was his first career one, too (12-year veteran).

And it was good to see. It's good to see that these guys still care. As I wrote above, I don't think they're mailing it in - I just think they're not talented enough to win.

"He felt like he didn't go around," Farrell said. "I thought he held up his swing as did David himself. On a questionable call, he started to argue. There's still a lot of fight in this group. Certainly there's a lot of frustration in the stretch that we're in right now. But it doesn't take away from the competitiveness in which we're going about it."