BOSTON, MA - AUGUST 23: Manager Bobby Valentine #25 of the Boston Red Sox walks back to the dugout against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim during the game on August 23, 2012 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
There are some games where the real take-away of it all depends very much on the season surrounding it. This, I feel, is one of those games.
A full blow-by-blow would rival War and Peace in size, so I'll spare you the minutia. For a "quick" summary:
Franklin Morales gave two back in the top of the third, losing the strike zone completely, and then had a Pedro Ciriaco error cost him the third out and another run. Clayton Mortensen entered, and allowed the next four to reach base, leaving the Sox behind by two. Keep in mind that's from the bottom of the second to the top of the third.
The Sox grabbed one back thanks to an error, and then retook the lead in the sixth, grabbing two more runs.
In the top of the seventh, Andrew Bailey ran into some bad luck, giving up three fairly weak singles to tie the game. Once again, the very next half inning.
In the bottom of the ninth, just three pitches in, Cody Ross hit a moonshot into the Monster seats. Tie ballgame.
In the top of the tenth, Kendrys Morales took Aceves deep on the second pitch. Take that, Cody Ross! They added another before the first out was recorded at third.
The Sox got one back, but Gonzalez struck out to end the night.
Now, the Angels ended up winning. For them, a team pushing for the playoffs (now that we've given them three straight), this is hugely energizing. They fought back from six down, took out three seperate Red Sox leads. Finally won it on a big homer in the tenth. It's not clean, but it's amazing in its chaos.
If the Red Sox were in that position, a win would have felt much the same way. Where they are, though, in the season they're in, it probably would have been a much different story. If ever a win could be demoralizing, that would be it. One where the worst aspects of the team show through time and again.
Of course, it doesn't hurt that they were the ones surrendering leads as compared to erasing them.
For the losing team, on the other hand, the bad season at least helps a bit. The merciful dulling of a tremendously painful defeat by the fact that, in the grand scheme of the season, it matters little. There will not be a one-game difference in the standings at the end of it all. All that was lost was a win that would have been pretty dingy to begin with.
Still, the loss does serve to obscure the bright side that can be found in the offense. The Sox scored 13 runs, got big contributions from many a batter, but that silver lining is buried totally in the muck.
It feels like the mantra of "new low" is repeated all-too-often. In fact, I believe it's gotten to the point that I've used this exact same ending before. But on a night like tonight, it's hard to see this as anything else. After a bad day filled with awful, soul-sucking media controversies, we've had one of the worst games of the season.
Hard to get much worse than that.