Every time you see this smile, you are suddenly filled with more venom than an angry Shelob. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
You sat down for today's game, hoping to catch the Boston Red Sox sweep a three-game weekend series against the Toronto Blue Jays. You probably were a little anxious about Daniel Bard starting, seeing as his sitting through his recent starts has been more like being a guest of Procrustes than of Epicurus. Or perhaps the thought of a Pedroia-less, Salt-free, Middlebrooks-missing lineup gave you more reason to panic than Indiana Jones in the middle of a snake pit. But you must have thought that surely there would be some way to make it through the game. But alas, it started.
You had the misfortune of watching Daniel Bard hand out free passes on the basepaths like co-eds at Cancun for spring break hand out free cases of herpes. Watching his Sisyphean struggles to notch individual outs was as painful for you as having nineteen hundred and eighty-six nails driven into your hands and feet, as Jose Bautista made Bard pay for his two walks to start the game with a three-run homer to put the Sox in a 3-0 deficit before a single out was recorded in the bottom of the first inning.
Had the damage stopped there, you could be forgiven that you had unwittingly stumbled into a Battleship-style disaster. Unfortunately, the ever intrepid Bobby Valentine decided to channel his inner Jim Caldwell and leave Bard in for a second inning. The result was about as predictable as you guessing what the subject of a monologue from Bubba might be. Although Bard did manage to get two punchouts, you could of course figure out that he preceded that with two walks, then hit Yunel Escobar with a pitch to load the bases. While you were spared the Washington Generals-like indignity of watching Bautista hit a second homer, you would watch him bring in the game's fourth run on a walk, before being treated to a another hit-by-pitch and another RBI. You probably hurled a few epithets at Valentine for his ineptitude after he finally yanked Bard, but the damage had already been done. You knew that the Sox were as cooked as the swan on the spit, seeing the gnashing teeth of the hungry tavern patrons: scoring five runs on just one hit is as unlikely as Snooki earning a doctorate in quantum chromodynamics—unless you happen to be playing the Red Sox.
You may have thought that, even if Bard's start were as successful as Leonard Part 6, there would be some good signs for the Red Sox, and there were, but they were as rare as asparagus at Christmas, and even then tinged with the bitter sting of failure. Daniel Nava redeemed a Julio Lugo-worthy defensive miscue with a Pedroia-esque effort to throw out David Cooper trying to stretch a double into a triple in the fifth inning, and Kelly Shoppach played the role of a Boccacio-observing Sevillian bullfighter, hitting a homer to right center to provide the Sox's only effective offense in the game. And, of course, no praise can be too high for Franklin Morales, who combined with Rich Hill and Scott Atchison to throw 6.1 innings of scoreless relief that was both as heroic and as pointless as the charge of the Light Brigade.
All in all, you probably want to forget today's game ever happened, the same way you might regret watching a Gigli-Glitter doubleheader, or maybe a Toxic Avenger-Surf Nazis Must Die twin billing. Or maybe you feel the utter despondency and shame that comes with a horrific lifelong mistake, like rooting for the Jets. And it's hard not to feel sorry about that. Today's game was a debacle worse than starting a land war in Asia.
And if you were wondering what's going on in this recap, you should have a look at today's game thread.