I don't know what to say.
The Red Sox played eight innings of pretty good baseball. John Lackey pitched an exceptional game. The hitters had some good swings. But line drives found gloves, long fly balls came up just short, and a swinging bunt and blooper combined to produce two runs off of John Lackey in the fifth.
For all that, it was a night that was looking like a harder win than was strictly necessary, but with the Sox up 3-2 after eight, a win none-the-less. David Ortiz had homered, Jose Iglesias had tripled and scored, and Papi had once again come up with a big hit to put the Sox on top late.
And then Andrew Bailey came in, and it was all over. Before an out was even recorded in the ninth. A walk, a home run, ballgame.
A blown save is always deflating. A walkoff loss is worse, and putting both of them together in one package gets you pretty close to rock bottom. But what really puts this over the top is inevitability. We saw it coming. The moment Andrew Bailey got up in the bullpen, the murmurs began. Here he comes to blow another one. Even with Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder out of the way courtesy of the ever-reliable Koji Uehara, there was an understanding that the Red Sox were almost behind at this point, and needed some luck to come away with the win.
Well, they didn't, and all that's left to the Red Sox is to adjust. That's it for Andrew Bailey. Is he dealing with injury? Maybe. He's not been the same since a stint on the disabled list. Does it matter? Not at all. Even ignoring the fact that Bailey is perpetually injured, he's used up his chances. He was putrid in 2012, and is putrid again now. He's blown too many saves in too pathetic a fashion to see time in the ninth inning again. Anytime the Red Sox are close, it's going to be Uehara, Tazawa, or even Miller, Breslow, or Wilson called upon.
Bailey has essentially relegated himself to the role of Melancon. He will pitch for the Red Sox again. Probably a fair few innings. But he won't pitch the pressure innings except as a last resort, and unless the Sox fail to make do with their other options, he won't have a space open up for him in the back end of the bullpen again. Whatever trust remained is gone, and there's not likely to be the opportunities needed to earn it back.
The alternative is that John Farrell does not make the move yet. And frankly, that would be just that much worse.
Read more Red Sox:
- Can the Red Sox rotation hold up?
- MLB Draft 2013: Red Sox sign first-round pick Trey Ball
- Jonny Gomes hits walk-off homer, punts helmet
- Jose Iglesias has majors’ longest hit streak