Booooooooooo!!! Mandatory Credit: Mark L. Baer-US PRESSWIRE
The Sox had their chance. They had two chances, in fact, after winning the first game of the series, to put the Yankees down under the Orioles. Within those chances they had a bunch of smaller chances to win those games. But no, opportunities wasted. Thus always with Boston.
Unlike Wednesday's game, when they stranded what would have been the tying run at third after a leadoff triple, the Sox' opportunities weren't exactly impressive Thursday night. A couple baserunners here, a couple there, and a leadoff double in the eighth pretty much sums it up.
Simply put, it was an anemic Boston offense looking helpless against an impressive Phil Hughes. The Yankees, on the other hand, were slightly less anemic against a much less impressive Felix Doubront.
It's sad to describe him like that after his first game with good results--two earned runs in 6.1 innings of work--but to take any real positive feelings about this outing from him you need to ignore a lot of bad. It was, in fact, a prototypical second-half Felix Doubront outing: full counts, walks, and the meltdown as he approached 50 pitches on the night. The only difference this time is that when he gave up a pair of line drives with the bases loaded and zero outs in the fourth, they found gloves; the first went for a sacrifice fly, the second for a miracle double play at first. Good results, typical pitching that has left Doubront high-and-dry time and again.
Maybe this will give the team the right opportunity to shut him down? Or maybe they take it as a misguided sign of improvement? Maybe it even gives Doubront the mojo he needs to actually finish strong. It's probably not as bad as seeing him surrender five again either way, but it's still not really a positive.
In fact, nothing is a positive from this game except the bullpen, and that's pretty concentrated in Tazawa, who gave up the inherited run on a bloop single, but managed to strike out the other two batters he faced. Other than that, awful offense, mediocre pitching, and even a pair of errors to complete the trifecta. And it comes in one of the few games left to us that are really worth winning.
At least the Paw Sox are champions.