The All-Star break couldn’t have arrived at a better time for the battered and free falling Red Sox, and for Red Sox fans. Baseball is not a fun sport to watch right now in Boston because of a team ravaged by injuries and a plethora of underperforming players.
One of the most prominent culprits for the Red Sox’ forgettable season to date delivered another stinker on Sunday night. Jon Lester, who on paper is the team’s No. 1 starting pitcher but in reality looks like a No. 5, faltered again as he was knocked around for five runs (four earned) and nine hits in 4.1 innings in Boston’s 7-3 drubbing at the hands of the Yankees.
In a game Boston desperately needed to win, the ineffective Lester put his team in an early hole by serving up two first inning runs and another run in the second inning. The Sox cut the deficit to 3-2 in the third, but Lester allowed an RBI triple to Alex Rodriguez and an RBI single to Andruw Jones before he was mercifully removed by Bobby Valentine in favor of Scott Atchison.
The usually dependable Atchison surrendered a two-run home run to Jones in the top of the seventh, giving the Yankees a 7-2 advantage. The uninspired Red Sox lineup scored a run on Mike Aviles’ RBI double in the bottom of the eighth but the slumping Daniel Nava flied out with two runners in scoring position to end the threat.
Pedro Ciriaco was 3-for-4 with a walk, a stolen base and two runs. Mark Melancon tossed 1.2 scoreless innings of relief. Aside from that, there was little positive contributed by the Red Sox.
By dropping three out of four in an important series, Boston ended the unofficial first half at 43-43 and 9.5 games behind the Yankees in the American League East standings. With a division title extremely remote, the Red Sox are left to focus on trying to secure one of the two wild card spots in what so far has been a disappointing year.