You know it's bad in Red Sox Nation when we dread a series against the Kansas City Royals. We dreaded it because the Royals are a bad team, and if we lose to the Royals, what does that say about us?
We did lose to the Royals. Not once, but twice. And I'm sure the Boston Police Department was busy last night dealing with people jumping off bridges in various locations of Massachusetts.
Losing to the Royals sucks. We have one game to salvage and even if we win it, there's no reason to celebrate because we still lost the series to the Royals. Curt Schilling, tonight's starter, could pitch a complete game but the sour taste in our mouths of losing the previous two is too strong.
What makes last night loss even worse is the fact they beat Jonathan Papelbon. They didn't beat Julian Tavarez or Rudy Seanez or Mike Timlin. They beat Papelbon, a MVP, a Cy Young, and a Rookie of the Year candidate. The man who may have the lowest ERA in the history of baseball.
Not anymore. Papelbon gave up two runs last night and his ERA ballooned to a shocking 0.94. Dennis Eckersley can sleep easily tonight. You know things are bad when our best pitcher is foiled by the Royals hitters.
It obviously could be a rarity. Papelbon could be perfect from here on out and we wouldn't blink an eye about last nights game. But Papelbon won't. Papelbon could win the MVP, the Cy Young and the Rookie of the Year, and he'll still probably be pissed off about last night's game.
And that's a good thing.
Papelbon is the type of pitcher who gets mad when he gets beat. I'm sure he was ripped last night and he'll carry that with him for the rest of the season. He just didn't get beat last night - the lonely Royals were doing the beating, making it hurt even more. If the Royals were to beat me, I'd hold it against the city itself I'd be so mad.
Papelbon recently hasn't been the best. But I think after last night's "reality check" he'll be even better.
That's a good thing.