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Red Sox 4, Royals 6: Quick Reaction

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Ah, well then, this is a much more comfortable and familiar situation, isn't it? After winning on Monday and carrying a lead into the eighth, the Sox were in very real danger of putting together a winning streak. But, sure enough, they managed to nip that one in the bud with Matt Albers surrendering a 3-run shot to end their time with the lead and, effectively, the game.

It's a game for hypotheticals. What if Daniel Bard hadn't had his second inning? What if Will Middlebrooks had stayed in the game? Would the game have been different?

For Bard, it was the second inning that proved the most problematic, as the Sox' fifth starter seemed to come completely unraveled on the mound. A single and a walk put two men on before a ground ball erased the second runner and nearly led to two outs. The throw to first was just a split second late, however, and that's when things went really wrong. A clumsy attempt to fake to third and throw to first resulted in a balk as Bard failed to really perform the first part, and just a minute later a distracted Bard tried to step off and look the runner back to second, but instead just moved him to third with another balk.

The trouble wasn't done there, as Bard allowed a single to bring the run in, sent Chris Getz to second by throwing a ball about a yard above and behind the batter, and then surrendered a single to make it three runs on the inning.

For the rest of the night--at least until the eighth--Bard was strong in a unique way. Perhaps not feeling fully confident in his slider, Bard relied on fastball control and put batter after batter away with ground balls and pop ups. The eighth, unfortunately, saw him lose control as his pitch count rose and his night grew longer, and then there was Matt Albers.

As for Will, he left the game after doubling and scoring in the second. It's just a tight hamstring--the same one that bothered him a few days ago--but it may have cost the Sox big given how Nick Punto managed to ground into a double play after Cody Ross and Adrian Gonzalez reached to start the third. Oh, what could have been had Middlebrooks been batting there as he had been intended to.

I'll leave the Bobby V. fun to you folks in the comments. There was plenty of anger in the game thread, so I know it's there, but frankly this is just Matt Albers doing what he does best: making you believe he's not Matt Albers right up until he is once again Matt Albers.