Red Sox, Rays faults on display as both teams fail to seize opportunity
The pertinent question isn't about the relievers so much as it is about Francona. In using his two best relievers earlier than he had in almost any game all year, did he show signs of panicking? Did he get away from a mostly effective Bard too quickly, fearing another meltdown by a reliever who has drawn three losses already this month? The Sox' lack of a third effective relief pitcher has been a less-noticed problem in the shadow of the disaster in the rotation, but last night, Francona showed that he thinks he has exactly two viable options in a close game -- especially on a night when Alfredo Aceves, arguably a third option but often used in long-man spots, is unavailable. In light of everything else that has gone wrong, the last thing the Red Sox need is for their manager to get away from what has worked all season long due to short-term concerns.