The Boston bullpen, abysmal in the first three weeks of the season, has improved greatly since then. Dating to April 23, Red Sox relievers have pitched to a 2.01 ERA, lowering their collective ERA from 8.44 to 3.09 in that span.
That's the macro view.
Up close and recently, it's not nearly as pretty.
Friday night, the Sox gave up a one-run lead in the seventh as the Yankees scored four times and took a 10-8 decision in the opener of a four-game series.
It was the fourth straight loss by the Red Sox, and the fourth time in the last six losses in which a reliever has been pinned with the loss.
CSNNE - Return of the bullpen blues
The Baseball Gods are smiting the 2012 Boston Red Sox for the Francona fiasco.
I tweeted that last night during the first inning. It was meant to be a joke, but it probably wouldn't take much to convince me that it's true.
The injuries. The heartbreaking losses. The perennial All-Star caliber players that can't put it together. Bobby Valentine. Absolutely nothing is going right for the Red Sox this season. The one aspect of the team that had become dependable - the bullpen - is morphing back into their April form.
Padilla, against all odds, has been phenomenal when inheriting runners this season (stranding 18 of 19). But in a must-win game against the Yankees? Boom! Triple to arch-nemesis Teixeira. Game over.
The Sox have three more games against New York this weekend. No reason to ring the panic alarm just yet. But it may not be a bad idea to sacrifice a Shoppach or two to the Baseball Gods.
Rest of the links:
Herald - Mark Teixeira lands blow on old foe | Red Sox battle back early, but Yankees better late | Brutal beginning burns Josh Beckett badly | Globe -Bobby Valentine Discusses Red Sox Loss | No relief | CSNNE - Texeira rips Padilla, gets revenge | Yankees outslug Red Sox, 10-8 | WEEI - Pedroia: 'I'm a freak healer. I heal great' | A scout's take: Which American League East teams are ready to separate themselves | Red Sox sign Dominican shortstop Wendell Rijo for $625,000