Wait, only the Red Sox aren't trying? Every other team is giving their best effort, even in a loss? Even the Yankees and Diamondbacks who, like the Red Sox, have lost two straight games on the road in a higher seeded team's park? Girardi and Lovullo are getting their teams all ready to play even though they toss out stinker after stinker?
Why are the Red Sox the only ones being blasted for lack of effort? Yankees fans are over there tipping their caps to the Indians for a well-played game, and Sox fans are quitting on their effortless team. I don't get it.
I blame some of it on Bill Belichick. He's gotten many Boston area fans to buy into the myth of "doing their job". While it's a wonderful slogan, and correct in so many ways, it leaves out one big part. It should really read, "Do your job...if you're capable of doing it." As I always say, if my job is to block JJ Watt, I promise you that it's not going to be done. The flaw isn't that I didn't do my job. The flaw was drawing up a blocking scheme that doesn't listen to physics. So, yes, if Xander Bogaerts would just play to a .400 OBP from the leadoff spot, he'd be doing his job. But, just because he doesn't, it doesn't mean he's not trying. Because, believe it or not, the other team is actually trying to prevent him from doing his job.
I also blame the media a bit. They love negative stories. I think the main reason is that they're safer. After all, the odds are that the Red Sox, in a given year, won't win the World Series. Only 1 in 30 teams will. Even the Patriots, in the middle of one of the most dominant runs in sports history only won the Super Bowl five times in the last sixteen years. So, if you wrote every article saying they wouldn't win this year for some reason, you'd have been right twice as often as you were wrong. Even with them. So, Red Sox writers needed something negative. But, how do you find negative things about a team that has pretty much never questioned its playoff position? You question their likability. Or their effort. "If they're so good...how come they lost that game? Huh? Not trying again?" They drilled it into people's heads. It was the best they could do.
Those two factors have helped Red Sox fans decide that the only reason a team loses a game is if they aren't trying. If they just put the effort in, and ran out a ground ball, they would win every game. The only reason they're not 162-0 is a lack of effort in those 70 games they lost. They could have clinched the division a week earlier if only they had wanted to.
Which brings us to this series. Yes, the pitchers struggled against one of the best offenses in baseball, in their park. The hitters had a little bit of trouble facing a couple former Cy Young Award winners, in their park. Just like any team would.
It's certainly too bad.
But it's not a sign that they're not trying.