The final nail has been sticking out of the Boston Red Sox’s coffin for a while. The Los Angeles Angels hammered it into place Monday. All that’s left is the burial.
Don’t be fooled by the name. There was nothing tranquil about the Halos’ treatment of the Red Sox during Boston’s final days in limbo. The Angels were quite vicious in their role of executioner, pounding the Red Sox for four games over the weekend and using a doubleheader sweep as their final blow.
“We were beat down. That was it,” Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia told reporters in Anaheim after Monday’s nightcap. “You know what I mean? That’s all I can say.”
The Angels outscored the Red Sox 22-4 in the teams’ weekend series, which started with back-to-back shutouts. It took Boston 21 1/3 innings to score its first run of the second half. And even then, Los Angeles didn’t bat an eyelash. Angels starters posted a 0.93 ERA in the series, whereas Red Sox starters owned a 7.23 mark, which was aided by a seven-inning gem from Wade Miley in Friday night’s opener.
The discrepancy between the teams was apparent, perhaps more so at the plate than anywhere else. The Angels, now 15-3 over their last 18 games, slugged nine home runs in the series. Kole Calhoun had three (two Saturday), Albert Pujols had three (all Monday), Mike Trout had two (including a walk-off Friday) and David Freese had one.
L.A. scored as many runs (22) as Boston had hits. The combination of Pedroia, Mookie Betts and Hanley Ramirez — three players vital to the Red Sox’s offensive success — went a combined 0-for-44.
It’s troubling because the Red Sox entered the Major League Baseball All-Star break on a roll offensively despite closing out the first half by dropping two of three to the American League East-leading New York Yankees. There were reasons to be optimistic about the second half, most of which tied into Boston’s offensive surge, and it was fair to wonder whether the Red Sox might add pieces — or stand pat, at the very least — with the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline approaching. A 6 1/2-game deficit isn’t insurmountable, especially since the implementation of a second wild card in each league.
The optimism came with caveats, though, and the premonitions of the skeptics manifested themselves over the weekend. It was paramount for the Red Sox to have a good showing during their seven-game road trip coming out of the break. And yet they’ll now travel to Houston as losers of five straight dating to before the break and saddled with a nine-game deficit in the AL East.
“We fully expected to come in and put together a better series than what played out,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said after Monday’s pair of losses on the West Coast. ” … In the end, yeah, this is a disappointing series all the way around.”
Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington will be tasked with writing and delivering the 2015 eulogy over the next 10 days leading up to the trade deadline, where Boston is more apt to sell than buy on the heels of a four-game sweep at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. But regardless of the GM’s prose, or any moves geared toward ensuring a brighter future, the reality is the same.
Another season appears dead. And it was a painful death.
Thumbnail photo via Kelvin Kuo/USA TODAY Sports Images