Following two losses at home to the Tampa Bay Rays (62-48), the Boston Red Sox (59-50) find themselves in need of a win to salvage a three game set at Fenway.
At the outset of last night’s game the Red Sox looked like a team that’d just been told help wasn’t on the way. Hearing Dombrowski yesterday describe his rationale for doing diddly-frigging-squat at the trade deadline was like hearing Admiral Wellington tell the Prussians before Waterloo that “we feel we have the ability to bring an end to the battle with the guys we currently have on the field.” Really, Admiral? You’re sure you don’t want some help? Those Prussians come in handy in a pinch. But alas, that’s where we are right now.
This isn’t to say that Boston rolled over and played dead yesterday. Following a victorious skirmish against a pair of monitors in the dugout after a first inning that wasn’t all that bad, Rick Porcello tried to hold the line but was predictably swamped under the Tampa onslaught. Boston’s middle innings guys out of the bullpen fared little better, fighting like Highlanders in four square (these Napoleonic Wars references doing anything for you?) but giving up just enough ground to put the game ultimately out of reach for Boston’s (admittedly talented) lineup. Boston’s from-behind bullpen seems designed not to keep the game close, but rather to avoid catastrophic embarassment. On that latter score last night, they succeeded, but just.
Tonight, we’ve got Andrew Cashner (10-5) against Tampa’s Brendan McKay (1-1). I’d be lying to you if I said I knew all that much about McKay other than the fact that he was drafted in 2017 as a two-way player (though it appears that he’s further along in his development as a pitcher than a position player) and that he pitched well in his debut and a few subsequent starts. For the Red Sox, though, tonight’s not really about Brendan McKay, is it? Potential positional oddities in the other dugout aside, the Red Sox need to find a way to salvage what remains of this series befoe they head down to the Bronx and a Yankee squad that’s undoutedly looking for some payback. Boston is 2.5 back of the Rays for the second wild card spot and 5 games in back of Cleveland, and a loss tonight coupled with a rough weekend could well get some in the organization looking ahead to next year. They’ve got to turn this ship around again, and tonight’s as good as any other night to get started.
So tonight, I’m going with Boston. Cashner’s pitched well against Tampa in limited time this year and the Sox need the game. Sure, McKay could come out tonight and do what he did against Texas, New York, and Baltimore, but I say what’s life without a little hope? Right now, that’s about all the Sox have going for them.