Sunday, May 26, 2013
"They beat me. They're that good right now. They're that hot. I just tip my hat and call the Yankees my daddy."
– Pedro Martinez, Sept. 24, 2004, after a loss to the Yankees
In 2012, the Yankees are Boston's daddy once again. New York invaded Fenway over the weekend, taking 3 of 4 and sending Sox fans to the All-Star break wondering if management should think about trading off key players and go into full rebuilding mode.
In a roller-coaster season, this was the biggest dive yet. Worse than the 1-5 start, worse than the 2-5 trip that ended last Wednesday. Boston's biggest rival came to town and exposed the Sox as an inferior team.
Injuries have been the biggest problem for the Sox this season, and the fact that there were four players in the starting lineup for Game 1 of Saturday's doubleheader wearing a jersey number higher than 50 didn't help much.
By the end of that game the feeling at Fenway was that no lineup would be good enough to take on the Yankees.
This was the first time the Sox played the Yankees since April 21, a date hard to forget -- the Sox blew a 9-1 lead in the seventh inning at home when the Yankees scored 14 runs in the final three innings.
Sox Manager Bobby Valentine said his team had hit "rock bottom" in that loss, and the bullpen built itself back up from there.
For more than two months, Red Sox relievers had the lowest ERA in the game. Even after the 2-5 trip to the West Coast, the Sox bullpen seemed ready to test itself against the best lineups in the game.
The Yankees scored two or more runs in every first inning of the four-game set, meaning the Sox would rely heavily on the bullpen.
It was exposed as badly as the starting rotation was in those first innings.
The Red Sox are 1-5 against New York this season. They were beaten in every aspect of the game by the Yankees.
Basically, the Yankees exposed every weakness the Red Sox have been trying to hide. And New York left with the best record in baseball, and a 91/2 game lead over the Sox.
Fenway Park is quiet today. Boston badly needs this four-day break to lick its wounds and regroup. Thanks to the two-team wild-card system that debuts this season, they are certainly still alive in the AL playoff race.
But, after this weekend, do you think the Sox are prepared to battle the Yankees for anything this season?
The answer, right now, is no. We'll see what happens when Jacoby Ellsbury, Carl Crawford and Dustin Pedroia return.
The Red Sox are .500 at the break. They've played more than three months of baseball, and are back where they started.
The Yankees, meantime, have to feel good after manhandling the Sox through a four-game weekend.
Tom Caron is the studio host for Red Sox broadcasts on the New England Sports Network. His column appears in the Press Herald on Tuesdays.