On Oct. 10, Theo Epstein fled Boston for the Chicago Cubs. To make matters worse, The Boston Globe printed a scathing article on the Red Sox’s collapse that same morning,
The piece was ripped apart almost instantaneously by pundits who cited the author’s many unnamed sources as shady journalism. Personally, the unnamed sources doesn’t particularly bother me. I do, however, have a problem with the implications of the article.
The article implies that John Lackey, Jon Lester, and Josh Beckett are responsible for the Sox collapse due to their frequent in-game clubhouse hangouts, which allegedly included beer, fried chicken, and video games.
The September struggles of Beckett, Lester, and Lackey have been well documented, as they should be.
That being said, the trio did not start all 28 September games for Boston. In fact they started 15 of them, leaving the remaining 13 starts to Tim Wakefield, Kyle Weilland, Erik Bedard, and Andrew Miller.
Those 13 starts went extremely poorly, with just three resulting in a win for the Red Sox.
Ultimately, the backend of the rotation was completely unable to log quality innings for the floundering Sox team.
Here was the extent of the September contributions from Weilland, Miller, Wakefield, and Bedard:
Weilland started three games and went 0-2.
Miller lasted just in an inning and a third in one of his starts and allowed 11 runs over the span of two games.
Wakefield pitched respectable for the most part, but also allowed at least five runs in all four of his starts.
Bedard’s last two starts came against weak-hitting Baltimore, but somehow managed to throw just six combined innings against the O’s.
What disappoints me about the article is that there are a number of other reasons why the Sox collapsed, and none of them include a couple pitchers downing some beers in the clubhouse.
How about Daniel Bard single-handedly costing Boston at least three games?
How about just terrible luck in general? According to The New York Times statistician, Nate Silver, the events that unfolded in September could only happen once in 278 million tries.
Blame the collapse on poor starting pitching, a poor bullpen, untimely hitting, or terrible luck, but don’t think that the actions of a few misbehaving pitchers cost Boston a playoff spot.
Jackson Alexander can be reached for comment at firstname.lastname@example.org.