How do you fall asleep after that one? How do you wake up in the morning?
In what many are hailing as the worst loss of the season--personally, I'll still take the game where Bard blew Wakefield's 200th win against Toronto--the Red Sox saw a late lead evaporate as Daniel Bard and Jonathan Papelbon combined for a loss and a blown save in the eighth inning.
But don't be so quick to blame our intrepid heroes in the back-end of the pen! Daniel Bard, after all, recorded four outs while allowing just one baserunner (at one point). Jonathan Papelbon...well, yes, he wasn't very good, but he also was out of his usual situation, and gave up his first run since July. That's two months, and thus firmly in "understandable" territory.
No, for this one, we go back to the third inning. I'm looking at you, Mr. Reddick.
It was in the third inning with one run and two outs on the board for the Orioles that Josh Reddick completely botched a line drive hit to right field. He started in when he should have gone out. Hesitated when he should have been decisive. And then, ultimately, made a leaping attempt for the ball, seemed to almost snow cone it in his glove, and then essentially threw it to the ground.
Jonathan Papelbon has been quick to offer himself up to the critics and the hounds in the aftermath of this debacle, but that was the real turning point of things. Erik Bedard, screwed over just once too often, finally snapped under the pressure and walked the bases loaded before giving up a 2-RBI base hit to Mark Reynolds. From 1-0 to start the inning, the Sox found themselves in an 4-1 hole.
The Sox offense fought back, if they didn't exactly take advantage of all of their opportunities, and gave the Sox a 5-4 lead, but with the bullpen being used up to cover the middle innings (Bedard left in the third), Terry Francona had to turn to Daniel Bard and Jonathan Papelbon for 9 outs. It was, really, the right move. It just didn't work out. Bard allowed two singles around a strikeout after his perfect eighth, and Papelbon gave up two hits before he could record two outs, with the bases-clearing double to Robert Andino being the killing blow. But the one to blame for that is the man who put them in that position in the first place.
Then again, the way things are going right now, maybe we shouldn't blame Reddick. Because no matter what the situation it seems like the Sox will, if given the opportunity, find some way to lose. Jonathan Papelbon's first run since July didn't happen in a game where he came in to make sure the Sox had a chance, or with a 2-3 run lead in the ninth, but with a 1-run lead. That's just how things work right now. They are the Red Sox, and somehow, they will lose.
Even to the Orioles.