Good Times Never Seemed So… Far Away

1215030435The era of good feeling for the Red Sox sure didn’t last too long, did it? One day we’re saluting Manny Ramirez for taking the time to care about a boy with peanut allergies, and the next he’s shoving the traveling secretary, which leads people to for his suspension, and, um, a dope slap. Do people do that anymore?

Everyone is on edge. Tampa columnists wrote the usual anti-Sox drivel (which was nicely dissected by’s Eric Wilbur in firejoemorgan style), while Remy and Orsillo actually seemed disturbed by the Tampa fans (die-hards since May, 2008) and their cowbells. Well, good for those loyal Rays fans. Both of ’em.

More importantly, the angst transferred over to the playing field, or whatever surface it is that they have down in Tampa, where the Sox just got swept by the first-place Rays. Boston has now lost five in a row, each in a more agonizing way than the last.

Last night’s loss was a microcosm of all that is wrong with the Sox this year: Dice-K couldn’t work beyond the fifth, the bullpen predictably imploded, and Captain ‘Tek’s bat is so slow he looks like he couldn’t catch up in a slow-pitch softball league.

Now, the boys have been in tougher spots before, and certainly a little hiccup in July won’t be then end of them, but there are some troubling signs with this team; 2006 kinds of signs. Like that team, the Sox have not fared well on the road, and the absence of one half of the Manny/Papi axis has been a drag on the offense.

The good news is that, unlike the 2006 season, the starting pitching has held up remarkably well, even with injuries to key members of the rotation. But if the Sox get crushed in the Bronx this weekend, expect those comparisons to run on an endless loop until the team figures out how to fix it.

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