Sloppy Sox outclassed by Yankees

BOSTON -- Manager John Farrell echoed the sentiments of most anybody who gave away four hours of their lives, not to mention the extra bucks for what the Red Sox predetermined was "premium" entertainment, to watch what took place at Fenway Park on Thursday night.

"I think the sooner we move past this one, the better," Farrell said after the Sox were five-tool failures in a 14-5 beatdown by the New York Yankees: They couldn't pitch (14 runs on 14 hits and a dozen walks), they couldn't field (five errors), they couldn't hit (four hits), they couldn't run, they couldn't hide.

The last time the Sox were this bad in an April loss to the Yankees was in 2012, when they blew a 9-0 lead on national TV and succumbed to 15 unanswered runs by the Bombers. After that game, general manager Ben Cherington felt compelled to pay a visit to the press box to offer a defense of his manager, Bobby Valentine.

Those days were supposed to be long gone, but they came back with a vengeance Thursday night, minus Cherington feeling the obligation to stick up for Farrell. There's no better job security than winning a World Series.

For a full recitation of all that went wrong Thursday night, we refer you to the ubiquitous Rapid Reaction. For an apt summation, we present David Ross, who was charged with a passed ball in the first inning and behind the plate for three wild pitches, a dozen walks and 14 Yankees hits.

"Oh yeah. That's as bad as we can play," Ross said. "That's a terrible game to be a part of. That's not big league baseball."

You know it's going to be a long night when the home-team highlight comes on the ceremonial first pitch. That's when Meghan Duggan, the Danvers-born captain of the U.S. women's Olympic hockey team and one of 14 New England Olympians honored before the game, mimed rubbing a finger across some imaginary pine tar on her neck before throwing a strike to the plate.

If you're Farrell, you're reminded of just how long a night it became when you have to summon a position player, Knuckleballin' Mike Carp, to pitch the ninth inning, which consisted of five walks -- four in a row, including one pitch a Ueckeresque "just a bit outside" as it one-hopped the backstop -- sandwiched between a double play and a popout with the bases loaded.

"Any time you have a position player on the mound," Farrell said, "it's not a good night."

For the second time in three nights, the Sox were charged with five unearned runs against the Yankees, who happily accepted the Boston hospitality. On a seven-game homestand in which the Sox had already spotted the Orioles leads of 5-0 and 6-0, they did one better against the Yankees, Felix Doubront departing in the third with the score 7-0.

"It was a bad night," the left-hander said. "Didn't get my job done. Probably loss of concentration, that's what happened. It was terrible."

How terrible? He pitched lousy, fielded just as bad, and let the Yankees steal bases (three) at will, Brian Roberts swiping second standing up because of Doubront's inattentiveness.

"The ball was up a little bit early on, consistently up in the zone," Ross said. "He couldn't get the breaking pitches over, his changeup was nonexistent. That's a bad remedy for pitching when you're talking about a lineup as deep as theirs is."

It's the second time in four starts that Doubront has been knocked out in the third inning. In between, he has had two starts in which he pitched into the seventh, but at no point this season has he yet to offer a convincing case that he is ready to become a consistent contributor to the rotation. If that doesn't change, Doubront could find himself swapping places with Chris Capuano, the veteran left-hander who has been a starter his entire career and is getting people out with regularity in the Sox bullpen.

Even with John Lackey pitching what Farrell called his best game ever in a Sox uniform on Wednesday night -- an 11-K, 0-walk, 8-IP performance -- the Sox rotation took a beating on this homestand, posting a 6.62 ERA.

"It's got to be led by our starters," Farrell said when asked how the club can effect a turnaround. "It has to come from the starting rotation to set the tone."

Last April, the Sox went 18-8, the best record in the league, and spent all but a handful of days in first place. They headed to Toronto on Thursday night in last place with a 10-13 record, which places them at the bottom of the AL East headed into a three-game set against the Blue Jays, followed by three games at home against another divisional rival, the Tampa Bay Rays.

Whatever lies ahead, the Sox now have a full complement of their players. Right-fielder Shane Victorino returned Thursday night, though everything was anything but all right, and third baseman Will Middlebrooks will be activated Friday night.

"The one overriding thing," Farrell said, "is we can perform and execute at a higher level."

Farrell was delayed in his arrival to his postgame press conference Thursday night. Addressing the team, perhaps?

"We'll have an opportunity tomorrow in our advance meeting in Toronto," he said.

In the meantime?

"When you hold on to games like this, you're in for a long season," Ross said. "Let's scrap that one, let's flush that one down the toilet. That was as bad as we can play, against a really good team, a really sloppy game.

"We'll get to Toronto, we'll pick our heads up and we'll just have a couple of cocktails, maybe, or something on the plane. I don't know, something. We've got to forget this one."

Kyle Brasseur contributed to this story.