It's amazing what extra innings can do to impart meaning in what will likely prove to be an entirely unimportant game. Tonight, by virtue of making it go 12, the Red Sox took an annoying loss and made it a real soul-killer.
How was it awful? Let us count the ways.
1) Jake Peavy went from a no-hitter to allowing two game-tying runs in the span of four at bats. His dominance in the first four innings set Red Sox fans up for a nice bit of shellshock, and allowing the go-ahead run in the very next inning left everyone reeling.
2) That was only allowed to happen because the Red Sox managed to score not a single run after loading the bases in the third inning. With David Ortiz putting two runs on the board with a huge shot in the first, the Sox should have just put the game away right then and there. Instead, Mike Napoli hit a line drive right to J.J. Hardy, and Jonny Gomes grounded into a double play to end the inning.
3) That would be one of four double plays the Red Sox hit into on the night. The second one, in fact. Not only that, but each came in an inning which had involved at least one leadoff baserunner, turning valuable scoring opportunities into the most frustrating of missed chances.
4) Speaking of leadoff baserunners, the Red Sox managed to put one on in the ninth, tenth, eleventh, and twelfth innings! Every last one! And they couldn't get even one of them in!
5) One of those GIDPs came from Stephen Drew hitting against left-handed pitcher T.J. McFarland in extra innings. Stephen Drew has a .570 OPS against left-handed pitchers. Yes, Xander Bogaerts was still available on the bench.
6) Laz Diaz was awful behind the plate. Equally awful for both teams, so it's not an excuse, just an added element of awful on a night which already had plenty.
7) As the Red Sox were failing to take advantage of every opportunity, the Rays were tying their game against Texas after the Rangers had gone ahead 3-2 in the eleventh, and then, sure enough, went ahead and won it shortly after Boston's game ended. A nice little homage to the final act of 2011 hidden in the slop, right down to the Orioles being the opponent.
Ultimately, the back breaker would come with two outs, a 1-2 count, and the bases loaded, as Franklin Morales threw an ill-advised strike to Chris Davis, who poked a seeing-eye single up the middle for two runs. In the end, it was the weakest of hits that proved the difference. Hell, let's go ahead and make that point the eighth.
Jake Peavy was really good, if he seemed to run out of gas a bit early. The Red Sox have lost all of two games in a row, which isn't a big deal. The magic number for the division still sits at just three, and the Indians actually lost to make the magic number for a playoff berth all of one. But, in a vacuum, this game was so, so bad. The worst we've had to endure in a while. And one that's going to nag until the division is in the bag.
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