So the Red So are now officially out of postseason contention, but anyone who really thought they had a shot even heading into the Yankees series was simply diluting themselves.

It’s true that with all of the injuries to key players the Red Sox had over the course of the season, it’s commendable that they stayed alive as long as they did. The replacements the Red Sox had were competitive and it speaks volumes of the organization’s farm system. Some might say if they played in another division, they would be in the playoffs.

But the fact of the matter is the Red Sox don’t play in another division. They play in the AL East, a division in which even the fourth-place team is dangerous and you simply have to play at a higher level.

When you have a team that is being pieced together with guys whose best effort makes them “competitive,” you need help from the remaining stars to lead the way to being a winner. That is what the Red Sox lacked this year.

There’s only one thing you can say about John Lackey, who made $18 million this season in a free agent deal that brought him in from Anaheim: At least he didn’t spike himself. Lackey’s ERA jumped over half a run this season, allowing the most runs in his career since 2003.

Josh Beckett, still considered an ace heading into this year, totally fell apart, went on the DL, came back and still wasn’t any better. Beckett posted the worst ERA of his career by far, which now sits at 5.77. He didn’t even give his team a chance to win a lot of games.

J.D. Drew has had one of the most anonymous stays in Boston ever. Can you think of a great J.D. Drew moment? This year was again a pedestrian season for the overpaid never-was. Drew, who’s currently hitting .258, hasn’t had a batting average below .260 since 2002. His .799 OPS is his lowest since his first year in Boston.

Jonathan Papelbon did little to help the Red So chances with eight blown saves. His 4.02 ERA is simply abysmal and does not actually indicate just how badly he pitched. To make matters worse, two of those blown saves came against the Yankees, including one in the last series in the Bronx that effectively ended the last hopes of for the Red Sox.

All of these players at this point are expected to be back and if this team wants to make the playoffs next season, things need to change for the better.

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