No Tex, No Tomorow for the Sox

We may never know if the Red Sox were serious contenders in the Mark Texeira sweepstakes, but it was made clear with an exclamation point this weekend, how costly it was for him to sign with the Yankees.

No need to dwell on the painful details of the last 6 games, but as I've said before, their weaknesses have been exposed and exploited completely. The road trip started out with promise, sweeping the Orioles, and being within a half game of the Yankees. But, just like they did in their recent visit to Texas, they got swept by the teams that matter the most. They have a hard enough time as it is beating hapless teams like Oakland and Seattle, but they can't even win ONE game against the good teams. So, just like that, they've fallen completely flat, with no answers in sight.

Plain and simple, once again, the Yankees are our daddies. The Sox have stayed competitive this long by good fortune, but weak hitting catches up sooner or later, and as expected, the injuries to older players are taking their toll as the season wears on. When everybody is clicking, I still think they're the best team in baseball, but that's become the exception rather than the rule, and they simply lack the consistency to stay on top.

We've seen these crushing sweeps by the Yankees before, so there's nothing new there. It's just so hard to take when our pitching goes the distance with theirs over the final 3 games, but to get shut down/shut out over that many innings puts the onus squarely on the hitters. We know the Sox have aging hitters and overpaid hitters playing well below their potential - but hey - so do the Yankees, and they managed to get their late inning heroics and two out rallies - and that's really the difference.

Aside from those intangibles, though, when you go up and down the positional rosters, the Yankees simply have the edge in almost every area - Posada/Varitek, Texeira/Youkilis, Cano/Pedroia, Jeter/??, A-Rod/Lowell, etc. The Sox have good - even very good players at almost every station, but theirs are simply better. The only edge I'd give the Sox is at second base, and not by much. On a good day, I'd give Jason Bay the edge in left, but he hasn't had many of those lately. Rivera is still the best, and the pitching is a coin toss. Both staffs have holes, but we have more right now, especially with only 2 reliable starters.

Enough said. I concede that the AL East belongs to NY - that race is officially over. I'm not optimistic about the Wild Card, unless the Sox suddenly revert to early season form. It's just so hard to see how that can happen, let alone sustain it through October. Stranger things have happened, but without a bona fide slugger - Texeira - there's nobody in our lineup that makes everyone play better or instill fear in the other team. That's what Texeira would have brought, and we're paying the price. Since Manny left town, there's no serious punch in the lineup, and it looks like now, NY will finally spend its way to another championship.

The future all of a sudden doesn't look too bright. It could be time to blow up the roster and re-tool - the problems are too fundamental for some spot fixes. There's still lots of good pitching in the system, but not nearly enough good bats. The competition keeps improving, and we're going to have to give up a lot to get those bats. Even the Angels - who lost Texeira to NY - have managed to stay strong - probably even stronger after losing Tex. I don't see the Red Sox getting better if Bay moves on next year.

Ugh - gloom is setting in and I don't want to go there right now. There's still some baseball left to be played, and we're just trying to hang on for the Wild Card. Maybe the Sox have enough character to shape up, but if we had Texeira, I have no doubt we'd still be the frontrunners. But we don't, and we're not, and may not be for quite some time.