On Saturday, the Boston Red Sox lost a teammate, a game and any hope of contending in 2014.
The Red Sox started the day by trading pitcher Jake Peavy to the San Francisco Giants for two minor leaguers. The Sox ended the day with a 3-0 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field — Boston’s fifth straight defeat — and the understanding that the organization’s front office is building for the future rather than this season with Major League Baseball’s non-waiver trade deadline less than a week away.
“It’s a weird day when you lose a buddy, for sure,” Red Sox starter John Lackey said of Peavy after Saturday’s loss. “I talked to him at the hotel when he was about to leave, but he’s going to a great situation with a guy (manager Bruce Bochy) he’s played for before and a division he knows really well. I wish him all the luck and mostly I’m going to miss my buddy, more than anything.”
Similar sentiments were expressed by several players Saturday, including first baseman Mike Napoli and catcher David Ross. Peavy had become extremely popular among his teammates despite spending less than a year with the Red Sox, and his departure certainly was a tough pill to swallow for the last-place club, especially since the trade could be the first of several deals before Thursday’s deadline.
“There’s nobody in here happy with what’s going on as far as our team and where we’re at,” Red Sox pitcher Clay Buchholz told MassLive.com before Saturday’s game. “Everybody is doing everything we can to win ballgames. Last year everything fell into place, and this year we’ve struggled to get to that point. It can change really quick, we just have to keep pressing.”
While Boston’s veterans aren’t likely to just roll over and die despite being 10 games under .500 (47-57) with 58 games remaining, the harsh reality is that the Red Sox have almost zero chance of making the playoffs. General manager Ben Cherington and Co. are approaching the trade deadline with that unsettling notion in mind to ensure next season doesn’t yield similarly disappointing results.
In many ways, Saturday’s 3-0 loss was a fitting way to cap the somber day at the yard. The Red Sox’s biggest bugaboo all season — the reason they’re in their current inauspicious position — has been a lack of timely hits. Boston went 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position and left nine men on base en route to being shut out for the 11th time in 2014, matching their total number of shutouts for all of 2013.
The Sox also found themselves on the wrong end of several close calls. A fan interference call took a potential home run away from David Ortiz in the top of the first inning. A potential baserunner interference call was overlooked in the bottom of the first. A bang-bang play at second base on a pickoff attempt by catcher Christian Vazquez broke the Rays’ way in the fourth inning. Losing seemed to be the common theme for Boston.
The season had been slipping away from the Red Sox for a while. On Saturday, it escaped their grip completely.