Every sport carries the possibility for a certain level of cruelty. Basketball has its suspect officiating, football its tremendous drive-nullifying swings, soccer and hockey the potential to have goals come completely against the flow of play.
Today we got a taste of baseball at its most torturous. Where good play by one team goes unrewarded while mediocre play from the other is rewarded in spades due more to luck than the actual performance of any of the individual players on the field. It's the sort of game where at the end of the day you can look back and say that the losing team outplayed the winning team.
Josh Beckett was fantastic. Excellent fastball control and strong secondary offerings left the Orioles with 15 batters up and 15 batters down to start the game. It could have been 27 up and 27 down, but a few ground balls in a row found holes in the sixth, and then Robert Andino--who else?--managed to bloop a single into right on a pitch he got jammed on. It's hard to think of an at bat Josh Beckett actually lost, but somehow in the end the Orioles had five hits and two runs against him.
Wei-Yin Chen, on the other hand, didn't look quite so good. The Sox had plenty of contact against him throughout the game, particularly in the third, fourth, and seventh innings. The balls off of Boston's bats, however, found Baltimore gloves, and that was basically all there was too it--except, of course, for Marlon Byrd's failure to make contact with runners on second and third and one out in the seventh. If there's one moment that makes it seem like the Sox earned this one, that's it.
All you can do after a night like this is move on to the next one. Unfortunately, they'll be doing so at .500, and at the end of the year it doesn't matter if the Sox deserved the loss that got them there or not.