Tuesday, September 14, 2004: Before tonight the Red Sox were a shocking, indeed, almost unfathomable, 0-6 against rookie pitchers. After tonight’s ugly performance, the likes of which we have not seen in well more than a month, make that 0-7, with the Sox making tonight’s Rays’ starter Scott Kazmir, who came into the game with a record of 1-1 and an ERA of 4.50, looking like Sid Finch. It is the 8th right now, and of course you never want to rule anything out, but if the form holds, we are on the way to our 3rd loss in 5 games, which pretty well erases much of the previous couple of series. These games all count the same whether they are against the Angels or Devil rays. Too bad the guys started off this series looking like they do not know this.

Pedro got the start tonight, and he struggled early on. His control was a problem, but he gave up just two runs in his somewhat labored six-inning outing. From that point on, the Sox bullpen was ineffective, they got a few bad bounces, the Rays were aggressive enough to avoid some double plays, and before we knew it the floodgates had opened.
Here in the 8th the Sox are showing signs of life. Nixon just hit a pinch hit home run where the bullpen splits with one on, and it is now 5-2, but a Damon fly-out means there are two outs and Bellhorn, who has struck out three times tonight, is our hope to salvage the inning and get us to the big boppers, who have not bopped very big in the last couple of games. Mot point – Bellhorn strikes out. Looking. Again.
We made a run in the ninth. After getting a couple of runs, we eked out two walks (one on a hit by pitch in which Varitek pretty much leaned in to the ball) and Cabrera, the tying run, came to the plate. He hit a line drive to right center field, but it is not enough. Game over. Two-game losing streak. Ugh.
So what was it? Were they looking ahead to the Yankees? Was a prolonged hangover and letdown from the nine games against the big guns from the west inevitable? Is this just part of the regular ebb and flow of a season? Is it a sign of fundamental weaknesses? All of the above? None of the above?
It does not help that the Yankees are winning, meaning we could be four back after tonight. Each game we lose looms larger as the remaining schedule gets skinny. But perspective might be in order: when we first started to get things straight, we lost several first games and still came back to win series. We need Waker to come up big and Schill to continue his roll. We need to hit. If we take two of three, we’ll be fine. Still, every loss now hurts just a little bit more than normal.

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