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Monday, April 4, 2011

Might as well end the season now

A good test of someone's sanity and how much of a prisoner of the moment they are is to gauge their viewpoint after a baseball team has been swept in April.

If you freak out and start talking like the season is over, like the Boston Globe's over-the-hill Dan Saughnessy, you have completely lost touch with reality and it's best for everyone if you retire this second.

The Boston Red Sox started their 2011 season in about the worst possible fashion: getting swept in Texas by the Rangers.

Last season's AL champs, the Rangers (3-0) wrapped up the laughable beating with a 5-1 win yesterday afternoon at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.

Red Sox (0-3) starter Clay Buchholz (6.1 innings, 5 hits, 4 earned runs, 2 walks, 3 strikeouts) was no match for a Texas lineup that churned out 11 home runs in the three lopsided victories.

Ian Kinsler and Nelson Cruz became the first teammates to start a season with homers in three consecutive games.

The reason I'm not panicking one iota is that the baseball season is so ridiculously long. Sorry Dan, a three-game sample in April tells us nothing about how this team will play in the summer or fall. You also have to give Texas credit, this wasn't the Kansas City Royals that were looking like world-beaters.

Rangers starter Matt Harrison pitched what I would venture to guess was probably his best game in the majors: 7 innings, 5 hits, 1 earned run, 2 walks and eight strikeouts.

Carl Crawford was about the only bright spot for Boston. He was temporarily dropped from third to seventh in the lineup (ahhhh!) but responded with the first two hits of his Red Sox career, including an RBI single in the seventh.

Texas got solo homers in the second, third, fifth and seventh inning from David Murphy, Kinsler, Mike Napoli and Cruz respectively.

Michael Young added an RBI double in the eighth off Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon. Pap hadn't gotten a chance to pitch all weekend so he was thrown into a 4-1 deficit and promptly gave up two hits and a walk before striking out the side with the bases loaded. Makes sense. Get used to a lot of white-knuckle work by Papelbon, who no longer has great stuff.

Boston mercifully gets today off before beginning a three-game series in Cleveland tomorrow. Josh Beckett takes the mound tomorrow night and will try to get the Red Sox in the win column for 2011. If the terrible Indians roll over the Red Sox, then we'll really have something to talk about.

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