How often is it that the Red Sox take a 9-3 lead after six, turn it into a 10-9 loss in twelve innings despite picking up 20 hits, and it doesn't inspire much gnashing of teeth?
This may be the first time anything of the sort has occurred in more than a decade, though maybe it's just me. Yes, the box score is brutal. Yes, Andrew Miller's seventh inning collapse was awful and looked way too much like old Andrew Miller for comfort. And yes, when the Red Sox wasted a chance with Pedro Ciriaco 90 feet away in the 10th and one out, it was the same old story we've heard all-too-often in the past few years.
But still, it just doesn't feel all that bad. For the first time since September 2011--and really for the first time in years--it feels like we're getting a break. It's certainly not the first game we've played this year where the standings seemed largely unimportant, but it may have been the first time where we weren't forced to look at it as a full-on preview for 2013 and the next few years as well.
This team, after all, is entirely unfinished, but not in such a way that we'll have to make do with it anyways. The failures to push across runs here or to keep a 9-3 lead isn't because of some deep underlying flaws that will continue to drag us down even after this season as over. It's also not a loss that speaks to some deep-seated clubhouse disgruntlement. It's just the sort of loss you run into when you're playing with an unfinished team.
That's kind of going to be the case for the next month, frankly, because this team isn't going to be even close to a finished product of any sort until the offseason. Until then, we get a vacation. A break from obsessing over every little Red Sox failure, knowing that aside from a very few exceptions, most of them don't mean much beyond this narrow frame of 2012.
So take heart in the decent performances from Jacoby llsbury and Pedro Ciriaco. Enjoy to the fullest the weirdly impressive Mauro Gomez. Note Junichi Tazawa's 97 MPH fastball, and Andrew Bailey's strong ninth inning. If it helps, remind yourself that the Sox just pulled within three games of the #8 draft pick. And remember that the team just pulled tabula rasa out of its hat 24 hours ago.
If we Red Sox fans are already looking to the suddenly much brighter future, then we owe it to ourselves not to take the present too seriously. This was an awful, fun game, and it's not the last we'll see. Take advantage of the enjoyable losses while you can.