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So we got swept, and the woes continue.  Let’s just get this over with.

Instead of being the gem amidst the muck that was our performance lately, Lester’s outing was a chore to watch.  I thought we would at least get one game out of this.  Apparently not.  He tanked.  He gave up four runs on eight hits in the first four innings alone.  He walked three and struck out two, and he threw 111 pitches, sixty-eight of which were strikes.

Simply put, Lester had nothing.  He threw some decent offspeeds, but his cut fastball wasn’t doing anything last night.  He threw forty-three pitches in the first inning alone, when he gave up three runs.  He loaded the bases with nobody out.  Honestly, I don’t know how the Rays didn’t score in the second; Lester threw another twenty-six pitches and just couldn’t get ahead in the count.  The third was his most efficient inning at sixteen pitches; he threw twenty-six in the fourth.  I was hoping for a more typically Lester-esque outing in which he throws sixteen pitches in his least efficient inning.  No command, no control, no location, no execution.  You could tell from the very first pitch that it was going to be a grind.

Bowden didn’t help by adding another three runs.  Albers inherited a bases-loaded situation and promptly gave up a grand slam, and Doubront added another run.  Only Morales, who pitched the eighth, did not allow a run.  Obviously, by then it was way too late.

As for the offense, it was almost nil.  It was a disgrace.

We went down in order in the first on twelve pitches, exactly four pitches each to Ellsbury, Pedroia, and Gonzalez.  We put two on in the second, but Tek ended the inning with a double play.  It looked like we would finally get something going in the third.  Scutaro led it off with a homer on a fastball to left center field.  He lofted it out of the park and, at the time, brought us within two runs of the Rays.  So I have to say that I was feeling pretty good at that particular moment.  When, after that, Aviles singled and Ellsbury walked to put two on with nobody out for Pedroia, I was feeling even better.  Pedroia struck out, but when Gonzalez walked on five pitches to load the bases with one out for Papi, I was convinced that this was the moment that could win the whole game for us.  This was our chance to blow it wide open.  This was our opportunity to put the Rays away and walk out of St. Petersburg with some dignity.

This was also when Papi flied out and Reddick grounded out to end the inning.

After that, it was all Rays.  We went down in order in the fourth.  We put two on base in the fourth, but a pickoff, flyout, and groundout erased that.  We sent up the minimum again in the sixth and one above in the seventh.  And we sent up the minimum again in the eighth and one above in the ninth.

And that was it.  We lost, 9-1.  We put up seven hits to their twelve.  We left seven on base and had only four chances with runners in scoring position, of which we clearly did not take advantage.  Scutaro and Aviles posted the lineup’s only multi-hit performances at two for four and two for three, respectively.  By the way, Scutaro’s home run was our only extra-base hit.

We have now lost our last five games and our last four series, we are three and a half games behind the Yankees, and we are only the same amount of games ahead of the Rays for the Wild Card.  To put that in perspective, when we started the road trip, we were eight games ahead for the Wild Card.  I should also mention that both Scutaro and Pedroia made throwing errors.  They didn’t result in any unearned runs, but it does mean that not only the pitching and the hitting but also the fielding was terrible.  This was truly a failure on all fronts.

In other news, the events of the day yesterday were a testament to this country’s heart and soul.  It was a tough day but a necessary one, and justice was done.  As I said, we honor, we remember, and we reunite.

Boston Globe Staff
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