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Red Sox 2, Orioles 4: And I Feel Fine

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It's a strange situation to be in, rooting against your team. But when the agenda of the fandom--keeping pressure on the Yankees, improving draft position--calls for it, it's one that can be managed.

The thing is, when you're rooting for your team, imperfect wins are wins none-the-less. You can turn off the TV at the end and say "OK, so that wasn't what it should be, but we won." When the only way to win is to lose, however, it almost feels like you should at least get to lose on your terms.

These were not the perfect terms, simply put. Jon Lester, previously 14-0 against the Orioles, is now 14-1. Far from the impressive performance he had against Toronto, he was shaky tonight, surrendering four runs in seven innings with as many walks as strikeouts.

It would've been a small thing to ask. Just make it a 2-1 win, or 3-2, or 18-9 with all the runs coming off of Alfredo Aceves and Vicente Padilla. Just leave Lester alone, and don't make Dustin Pedroia look too bad. Maybe even give something to Ciriaco, Lavarnway, and Iglesias.

On the offensive side of the ball, the Sox did get some of that. Pedroia broke his lengthy 0-for slump with an RBI single, Iglesias had a ringing single, and Ciriaco picked up a couple good hits--one by way of speed, one by way of power--though Lavarnway went without. But Lester was the shaky guy he's been most of the year, and that's not what we need for 2013 when the games matter.

Still, the overall result, if a loss, was in its own way a win. Imperfect, but a result that achieves the ends that are best for the team (draft positioning) and worst for their opponents (Yankees and their playoff push).Can't get too upset just because it was imperfect.