Whoever picked the playlist for tonight's party should be fired immediately. Instead of getting Xander Bogaerts's Debut Smashfest, Vol. 1, we were punked, and got to groove to Red Sox Batters Make Another Lousy Pitcher Look Like Frakking Cy Young, Vol. 3957038572857.
No, I'm serious. The Giants' starting pitcher tonight, Ryan Vogelsong, has no business being on the mound. He has, after today's game, an earned run average of 6.29. In the National League. Where he gets to face pitchers. Pitchers who do not hit. His ERA in the American League would be somewhere north of a billion. And guess what his line looked like on this evening?
7.0 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 5 SO.
So, yeah, that was not fun. It's really getting depressing that it's starting to deserve its own page in the Red Sox Hymnal, along such classics as "Small Father" and "Get Him Out of There Right This Minute, Farrell." (Oh, and did I mention we got to hear that one, too. But that rant we'll save for a little later.)
The story of the game: the Red Sox bats wasted lots of opportunities—none bigger than having the bases loaded in the first with nobody out, and managing to score only one run off of a Mike Carp sacrifice fly. Will Middlebrooks would single to load the bases up again, but neither Daniel Nava nor man-of-the-hour Xander Bogaerts would be able to make anything come of it. In fact, in what must be counted as the greatest letdown since New Coke, our new shortstop did precisely nothing all night long, aside from fielding a pair of grounders. But hey, I guess we can't all be Daniel Nava, can we, Xander. I mean, how hard would it have been to just hit a first-pitch grand slam to start your career? Think about it. It would have been the awesomest debut since the debut of the guy who batted directly in front of you tonight! Aaaaargh.
(And whose bright idea was it to leave our best hitter out of the lineup? I love Mike Carp, but today's batting lineup was something out of the Twilight Zone. Carp and WMB batting between Pedroia and Nava? No thank you—at least not until WMB gets completely back into the groove. Which he is starting to, but he's not really fully there yet. But that's a story for another day.)
OK, so we did manage to get another run, courtesy of a Shane Victorino longball. But otherwise, the Sox bats just kept getting stymied by someone who clearly made a deal with Beelzebub. There weren't a whole lot of scoring chances after that—the best came later in the second, when after a Nava double left Dustin Pedroia at third, but once again, Bogaerts came up with a bogey.
Jake Peavy pitched a good game, but only managed to last 5.2 innings, giving up one run to Joaquin Arias, who hit a triple to score Roger Kieschnick in the fifth. Another 1.1 innings of relief from Craig Breslow, and at the end of the seventh, it looked like the Red Sox could eke out a narrow win.
But then, of course, on a day when nothing seemed to be going the Red Sox way, Marco Scutaro, of all people, would end up playing spoiler. He singled against Junichi Tazawa to start the eighth, and following another single by Brandon Belt, stood 90 feet away from home as the tying run. Tazawa couldn't keep him at third, as he gave up the sacrifice fly to Buster Posey, and then notched the strikeout. Note to Junichi: next time, strikeout first, THEN fly out. OK? Unfortunately, the damage was done and the game was tied.
Making matters worse, Franklin Morales managed to load the bases in the bottom of the ninth inning, giving way to Brayan Villareal rather than Koji Uehara (AAAAARGH). Oh, and did we mention that the bases were loaded with two outs? And that there would be nothing worse at that particular juncture than not throwing strikes? So guess what hppened?
A walkoff walk.
Yes, you read that correctly. A walkoff walk, to Marco Scutaro. Sox lose, 3-2, in a game that they really, really ought to have won—and really needed to win. The four-game cushion against the Rays? Concluded. Dropped in the night, and was gone. Not even a few shreds left.
The Sox will try to salvage the series Wednesday afternoon. But in conclusion: