Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 10/12/11

Boston Red Sox starters Josh Beckett, Jon Lester and John Lackey wwre drinking beer and playing video games in the clubhouse during games as the team spiraled into the biggest September collapse in major league history, the Boston Globe reported Wednesday.

The report cited numerous unidentified sources at multiple levels of the organization and also said manager Terry Francona was unable to control the behavior of some of his players, suggesting that marital and health issues may have distracted him.

In early September, the Red Sox held a nine-game lead over Tampa Bay for the American League wild card berth. They went 7-20 without consecutive wins in the month and were beaten out for the postseason by the Rays on the season's final day.

Two days later, Francona - whose contract had team options for 2012 and 2013 - stepped down as manager. It is believed that general manager Theo Epstein, the architect of the 2004 and 2007 World Series title teams, is headed for the Chicago Cubs.

The report said Francona lived in a hotel during the season after moving out of the home he shared with his wife of nearly 30 years. It also said there were team members who were concerned about the manager's use of pain medication he takes following multiple knee surgeries.

Francona strongly denied both allegations, claiming neither was an issue.

The pitchers were not in violation of any team rule when they drank beer, ate take-out fried chicken and played video games during games. But the report said that they did it at times in place of conditioning workouts, and they were not showing support for their teammates as the Red Sox struggled.

In September, Beckett, Lester and Lackey were a combined 2-7 with a 6.45 ERA. Boston was 4-11 in their 15 starts.

The report also said there was discontent among many players about playing a day-night doubleheader in late August to avoid the approaching Hurricane Irene. Team owners sensed resentment from the players and gave all of them $300 headphones and a party on owner John W. Henry’s yacht, the report said.

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