Eck's face just says it all. Screencap from Boston.com
Holy crapcakes, this game.
After watching King Felix's window of vulnerability close with just one run in the first, I sternly admonished Kason Gabbard that he had better be wearing his Big Boy Pants.
Kason was most certainly not wearing his big boy pants.
I had already chalked it up to another inexplicably dropped series and thought, let's call it a road trip and bring 'em home. Total rerun of last night. But Tito apparently wasn't going down without some kind of fight, and he trotted Manny Delarmen out to relieve Gabbard in a maybe-just-crazy-enough to work move. Then the Sox jumped on Felix again, this time dinging him for two more runs in the top of the fifth. Only to see Manny Delcarmen cough up two more in the bottom of the inning. Then Alex Cora shoveled a little more durt into Julio Lugo's grave with a heroic tag to finally put the fifth inning out of its misery. Ridiculous as a one-legged man in a brewery making hops, as a great thinker was once heard to say.
Then OMG JD Drew with the homer to the polar ice caps of Mars. And Cora played a Jedi Mind Trick on Jose Guillen to get on base. With Cora at third, O'Flaherty was brought on to face Papi, who took his pasty Irish ass out to right to tie the game for the third time in an inning and a half.
Then freak of nature Richie Sexson? Hit a two run. Goddamn. Homer. Off Javier Lopez. Like two minutes later.
Unfortunately the two-run exchanges were not to keep happening, tic-tac-toe style, for the rest of the game, and while the Sox recovered another run on a sac-fly Youk-Coco combo in the eighth, and Francona, still pulling out all the stops, sent out Okajima out in the eighth in case the offense could get something going again...it was not to be.
It was not to be at past one o'clock in the morning, by one measly run. It was that kind of "not to be".
In the grand scheme of things, it's the first dropped series for the Sox in the last four, at the end of a brutal road trip, and only the fifth time all season we've lost more than one game back-to-back. As of today, the Red Sox are still the only over-.500 ballclub in the American League East. Also, Mike Timlin managed to get outs, which can't hurt.
But what made it so brutal was the moment-to-moment nut-kicking manner in which this loss occurred. The Sox didn't just give up a bunch of runs so we could turn in early, or fail to get the offense moving, again, so we could turn in early (not that I'm bitter). Instead, they played a hard-fought contest in which the manager was clearly doing absolutely everything he knew to yank out a win, as well as the players, almost got there-- and still came up short. That's the kind of loss which raises questions about your team that haunt you over West-Coast-hangover cups of coffee in the office the next morning. The kind of loss that magnifies the frustration, because it comes with so many wouldacouldashouldas attached.
And while we can take comfort in much of the bigger picture when considering this individual loss, there is one broader cause for concern: last night was also a welcome to your 2007 Red Sox without Curt Schilling or a suitable replacement anchoring the rotation.
Given that situation, July is shaping up to be a very interesting month. Interesting in the old Chinese curse kind of way.
*reference to precautions included in packages of the weight-loss drug Alli, as discussed on a recent broadcast of The Colbert Report.