Last Monday at around 1:00am, when Mike Napoli launched an extra-innings walk-off homer to beat the Yankees, I was convinced this team was destined for 2004-like greatness. Maybe it was the lack of sleep or the over-indulging in alcohol. But at that moment, it just felt right.
Since then, the Sox have gone 1-3. During that stretch, they’ve been outscored 16-7, scored one run or less in three of those four games, and been shut out twice. John Lackey, the linchpin of any 2013 playoff aspirations, also returned to earth, getting roughed up by the Orioles last night (in fairness, however, the guy’s been throwing so good recently, he was probably due for a whipping.)
It was our sixth loss to the Orioles in eight games this year. Which prompted a hearty, “what the f$%k??” from me.
Most significantly, the Sox dropped out of first place in the East, a position they held since May 27 after not holding it at all last season. With last night’s loss, they surrendered the top spot and the AL’s best record to the Rays, who are now a half game above us. The Orioles, meanwhile, are just three games behind us.
So now we have a couple scenarios to hope for:
1) our bats come alive and keep us afloat until September when Buchholz makes his triumphant return and pitches us to the AL East title.
2) the Rays–who are on an absolutely insane tear of 23-5 since June 22–suddenly get cold and drop off the map
3) we figure out the Orioles and at least keep them at bay long enough to secure a playoff spot
4) talking apes conquer the planet, rendering the entire 2013 season moot.
I’m hoping for number one although number four would be pretty awesome to watch.