Was the Panic Button at the ready? Were we ready to push that panic button? Ten losses in a row. Worst slump in 20 years! Three straight series sweeps. Two veterans on the disabled list. Maybe the only good thing to come out of loss number ten is that there was a bench-clearing incident in Tampa, and maybe, just MAYBE, that can light a spark under this team.
To add salt to the wound, Josh Beckett spun his first career no-hitter. Beckett struck out six, walked three and didn’t come close to allowing a hit against a lineup that included two former NL MVPs and four former All-Stars, as he led the Los Angeles Dodgers to a 6-0 victory over the Phillies in Philadelphia today.
For a little more salt thrown in, Chicago Cubs GM Theo Epstein just signed Manny Ramirez as the new player-coach for the Triple A Iowa Cubs. In a statement issued by the Cubs, Epstein said “While Manny is not and will not be a fit on the Cubs’ major league roster, we do think at this stage of his life he’s a nice fit as a mentor for some of the young talented hitters we have in the organization. Manny will coach full-time and play part-time in a limited role that does not take at-bats away from our prospects.”
“If he shows there is still some magic in his bat, perhaps he will find his way to the major leagues and help another team, but that is not why he is here. We are thrilled that he wants to work with our young hitters and make a difference.”
Can you imagine Manny imparting advice to the Cubs prospects? “Yo, listen, when you make the show and need some time off, tell Theo your grandmother died. It worked for me three times in Boston.”
But we digress. It’s a shame that punches weren’t thrown in Tampa Sunday. That could have shaken the Sox out of their slump perhaps. The incident took place after Yunel Escobar advanced to third base on the pitch following his two-run double that gave the Rays an 8-3 lead in the seventh inning. After he was awarded the base on defensive indifference, Escobar began pointing and shouting toward the Boston dugout.
When little Yunel got his wish and the Sox dugout responded, he couldn’t hide fast enough behind his third-base coach or the third base umpire. He also wanted NOTHING to do with Jonny Gomes, who bolted in from left field. As a matter of fact, Escobar probably ran a further distance from the Red Sox than he did going from home to third.
The bottom line is this, perhaps throttling little Yunel would have been the igniter this team needs, because these are not good times for the defending World Series Champions, but with two wins in a row over the Atlanta Braves, is the tide turning?