Lester Falters in Sixth as Sox Fall, 3-2

I suppose I should thank Ben for launching the jinx right out of the gate: "Here's to 9-1," indeed.

I was hoping to recount the thrilling victory of the Sox over Evil Incarnate the New York Yankees. Instead, I'm left to piece together the puzzle of what exactly went wrong.

This is one of those frustrating nights when victory seemed imminent, but ultimately proved out of reach. The Sox were actually the first to strike blood, as Jacoby Ellsbury doubled to drive in Marco Scutaro in the third inning, and David Ortiz hit a homer deep to right field in the fourth inning to put the Sox up 2-0. On a night where Jon Lester appeared to be solid early, notching seven strikeouts in the first five innings against two walks, a single, and a bunt, and with a fully-rested bullpen waiting in the wings, that looked like it might actually be enough.

But lo! Full of woe is the tale that I must weave!

The Legions of Evil Yankees were not yet defeated! Can we ascribe this defeat not merely to the Yankees, but also Tito "I Cost Tim Wakefield His First Try at Win #200" Francona? Once again a Sox starter was left in a batter too long, as Lester clearly began to run out of steam in the sixth inning, walking Eduardo Nunez before allowing successive singles to Derek Jeter and Curtis Granderson. Another walk, Lester's fourth, to Mark Teixeira, should have been a signal that Lester was gased. But Lester stayed in, allowing another run would score when Robinson Cano grounded into a double play. Unfortunately, the damage wasn't yet done, as the Bronx Malfeasants Yankees would score the coup de grâce on a double to the odious Nick Swisher, which brought in the go-ahead run. (Note to Ben and Marc: I deserve hazard pay for having to write that last sentence. That statement was literally painful. I am still fighting the nausea it induces.)

Once again, Bartolo Colon seemed to luck out, and Joe Girardi seemed to be the manager who followed Francona's oft-stated advice: "Better to pull out a pitcher a batter too soon, than a batter too late." In this case, pulling Colon out after just 4.2 innings—before the Frends of A-Roid Yankees could regain the lead, and before Colon could even qualify for a win—proved to be fortuitous for New York. Mixing two outs with singles to Josh Reddick and Dustin Pedroia, and a walk to Jacoby Ellsbury, Colon looked to have reached his limit. Rather than leaving him in to face Adrian Gonzalez, Girardi lifted him for Boone Logan, who struck out Gonzalez to end the threat.

The remainder of the game would be a battle between two strong bullpens, as Matt Albers, Randy Williams, and Alfredo Aceves held the Bronx Pondscum Yankees hitless for three innings, while Logan, Cory Wade, Rafael Soriano, David Robertson, and Mariano RIvera combined to keep the Red Sox off the board for 4.1 innings. The only hit would come courtesy of Carl Crawford off of Rivera. (Yes, you can pick your jaws off the floor. I'll wait.) However, nothing came of it, as Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Josh Reddick would strike out to end the game.

So this was a game that could have been won, but wasn't. And now we have the misfortune of . . . 

No. I'm not going to do it! You can't make me say it! I refuse to be at the helm when this happens. 

(Wait, what? What contract? I didn't sign any contract! Okay, fine.)

. . .  watching the Red Sox slipping into second place in the AL East. Ugh.

Two more chances for the Sox to beat the Devils Yankees this weekend. Let's hope they take advantage of it so that they can reclaim their rightful place in the standings ahead of the Bronx Barbarians Yankees.

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