The Red Sox gave up on the 2012 season on Aug. 25 when they traded Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford, and Adrian Gonzalez to the Los Angeles Dodgers. The remaining players won only nine more games, marking days off the calendar like prisoners in solitary confinement.
Monday night’s events at Fenway Park bore a similar, dispiriting semblance to those dark days.
As team executives sought trade offers for ace lefthander Jon Lester and other veteran players, the Red Sox were beaten, 14-1, by the Toronto Blue Jays before a sellout crowd of 37,974.
Melky Cabrera homered from both sides of the plate and drove in five runs as the Blue Jays won their third straight and beat the Red Sox for the fourth consecutive time. Ryan Goins was 4 for 5 with four RBIs.
Toronto scored nine runs in the sixth inning, sending 14 batters to the plate. Exactly one week after the Red Sox beat the Blue Jays, 14-1, in Toronto, the score was reversed.
“It was an ugly night from the mound,” Sox manager John Farrell said.
R.A. Dickey (9-10) allowed one run over seven innings. He and Rob Rasmussen held the Red Sox to five hits while striking out 13. It was an embarrassing performance for the home team.
“There’s a weird feeling in the clubhouse with everything going on,” Brock Holt said. “I wouldn’t say it’s affecting anybody specifically. We’re just going out and getting beat. The Blue Jays put it to us pretty good.
“This is part of the game. You have to deal with the tough times.”
At 48-58, the Sox remain in the American League East basement. In less tangible ways, they have sunk even further given their poor play over the last week.
The Sox were on the verge of turning around their season a week ago with wins in eight of nine games. They since have dropped six of seven and scored only eight runs in the last five games.
“We were starting to gain a little momentum coming out of the break. That has been stalled the past seven games,” Farrell said.
Catcher David Ross was more succinct.
“It’s discouraging,” he said.
Clay Buchholz (5-7) allowed seven runs on seven hits and four walks over five innings, underscoring the notion that he is not capable of replacing Lester as a top-end starter.
The seven runs were the most Buchholz has allowed since his final start in 2012 when he allowed eight against the Yankees. He has given up 15 earned runs over 17 innings in his last three starts and has an earned run average of 5.87.
Felix Doubront followed and was worse, allowing six runs and getting only two outs. The lefthander, who is angry about being in the bullpen, appeared to be throwing what amounted to batting practice before he was taken out.
Doubront declined comment after the game.
Doubront has been disgruntled since being demoted to the bullpen in late June, telling the Globe last week that he preferred a trade to a team that wanted him as a starter. That comment didn’t sit well with the Red Sox coaches and Doubront was left in the game to take a beating.
Doubront has given up 11 runs on 15 hits over seven innings this month.
“If you’re a pitcher, regardless of the role that you’re in, you’re asked to go out and execute pitches,” Farrell said.
Buchholz was down, 2-0, after only six pitches.
The erratic righthander walked leadoff hitter Jose Reyes, who took a strike before the next four pitches missed. Buchholz then threw a fastball down and in to Cabrera and he drove it into the Red Sox bullpen.
Poor control cost Buchholz again in the fourth.
Buchholz walked Colby Rasmus. Munenori Kawasaki then singled. Toronto manager John Gibbons had Josh Thole bunt to get to Goins, who had four RBIs in 89 plate appearances.
It worked. With the infield in, Goins singled to right field and two runs scored.
At 4-0, the Red Sox were at least somewhat in the game. Then Toronto piled up eight hits and three walks in the sixth inning. The nine runs were the most allowed by the Red Sox in an inning since 2012.
Buchholz walked the leadoff hitter for the third time when he put Kawasaki on. Thole then singled off the wall in left.
When Goins doubled in a run, Buchholz was taken out of the game. Doubront soon had the crowd booing even more loudly. He allowed six runs on six hits and didn’t get out of the inning, pitching with an apparent disregard for the results.
“I don’t think that he’s disinterested,” Farrell said. “He’s capable of more. We’ve seen that.”
Doubront walked Gose before Reyes delivered a sacrifice fly. Cabrera then hit his second homer, a blast that cleared everything in left field.
Jose Bautista singled and Juan Francisco walked. Rasmus doubled to drive in a run and Kawasaki doubled to drive in two more. Only then did pitching coach Juan Nieves visit the mound.
Thole singled before Goins grounded into a force to drive in another run. When Gose singled, Farrell came to the mound.
Doubront handed Farrell the ball and walked to the far corner of the dugout. The fans at that point actually applauded, happy to see Burke Badenhop coming into the game.