It was predictable enough: the high pitch count for Lester, the seventh-inning question marks of late, and the simple fact that the Sox were playing the Yankees. Somehow it seemed a bit too obvious that a 2-1 lead just wasn’t going to be enough.
That proved to be very much the case in the seventh inning, as the bullpen fell apart to the tune of three runs, leaving the Yankees on top by two with only a scoreless inning from the greatest closer to ever pitch the ninth inning left between them and a victory.
Alfredo Aceves had been unimpressive in the sixth inning, struggling with control, but a lack of options forced Terry Francona to stick with him into the seventh. That lack of depth proved costly. With one out, Andruw Jones drew an amazing 14-pitch walk, Jesus Montero was hit by a pitch, and suddenly Daniel Bard had to come into the game to try and put out the fire.
For once, he couldn’t. Russell Martin sent a two-run double to the opposite field, and with the Yankees catcher advancing to third on the throw, it proved all too easy to build the lead to two runs with a single.
The Sox need offense, and they need it against a guy who’s known for not giving any up for the last 15-odd years. They’ve done it before, but can they do it again?