|The Red Sox died a grisly death in Toronto today (Boston Herald)|
Today was the first day of Patriots training camp, a day that ignited Super Bowl dreams across New England. With an improved defense (welcome aboard, Darrelle Revis), renewed health (Vince Wilfork, Tommy Kelly, and Rob Gronkowski, oh how we missed thee) and a perfect marriage between the sport's smartest coach (Big Bill) and one of its finest quarterbacks (Tom Terrific). Patriots fans are hopeful this will be the year their team snaps its decade-long championship drought.
But while the Pats' preseason was getting underway in Foxborough, marking the glorious return of football and inspiring optimistic predictions of a sixth Super Bowl appearance for Belichick and Brady, Boston's bumbling baseball team effectively blew what little chance it had left to make the playoffs. Winners of eight of nine following a big 14-1 win on Monday night, the streaky Sox proceeded to drop the next three games against the Blue Jays. Playing what amounted to a must-win game in late July, the Red Sox got their butts kicked in this afternoon's series finale. It was the final nail in the coffin of a season that (unoffically) ended weeks ago.
With his team desperately needing a win, Rubby De La Rosa simply wasn't up to task. He failed to keep the Sox in the game, allowing runs in four of the five innings he pitched in and seven in all. Not that it mattered, because any amount of runs De La Rosa allowed was going to be too much on this day, unless that number was zero. Boston managed one measly hit--a Shane Victorino single--and was shut down by 23 year-old Marcus Stroman. Though the game wasn't truly out of reach until the fifth inning, for all intents and purposes it was over as soon as the Blue Jays plated their first run. The Red Sox went down without a whimper.
Boston's third straight loss dropped them to eight games below .500 on the season and deeper into last place, where they've resided for most of the month. The struggling Sox will try to turn it around tomorrow night against the surging Tampa Bay Rays, winners of seven straight and 25 of their last 36. Expect another quiet day for Boston's bats against David Price and a tough-luck loss for Jon Lester as a result.
It's hard to believe that just three days ago Boston appeared to be on the verge of climbing back into the race. Now they're dead, and September can't come fast enough.