After eight straight losses, the Red Sox finally won a game again, defeating the Blue Jays 4-3 in ten innings.
So why do I still feel so dead inside?
This is not the game for a play-by-play breakdown. Eight innings of scoreless baseball from Clay Buchholz and homers from Mookie Betts and Dustin Pedroia seems like the sort of thing that would merit more attention, but no. Not today. Because somehow the Red Sox invalidated all that in the ninth.
Somehow, this is something we've seen a lot of in recent days. Brandon Workman's seven-run fourth inning fits the bill, I suppose, but really the obvious nod is Koji Uehara's five-run meltdown in then ninth against the Mariners this past Friday. It was another 3-0 lead thrown right out the window when the game was there to be taken with one good pitch.
Clay Buchholz is technically the one with three earned runs to his name. He doesn't really deserve them. He gave up a couple of "perfect placement" hits, one featuring an infield collision between Brock Holt and Dustin Pedroia, and then finally allowed his second walk in eight-plus excellent innings of work before being pulled. It wasn't a badly pitched inning from Clay, just one that resulted in the wrong outcomes.
Uehara, however, is very much the one who threw a hanging splitter as dead-center over the plate as possible to Edwin Encarnacion, and paid with a game-tying double.
You know what happened next? The Red Sox won. Brock Holt reached on an infield single with one out in the tenth, stole second base, stole third base, and came home on a Yoenis Cespedes single. The Sox went up 4-3, and Craig Breslow allowed just a walk in the tenth inning.
And for all that...Everything still feels pretty terrible.
If you'll allow me a moment, I'd like to mention that the idea of SB Nation is to mix in fandom with the usual team coverage. Generally speaking, this just means I get to use words like "fortunately" and "thankfully" in these recaps. This game, though, is when I think that idea is put to both its best and worst use.
Tonight the Red Sox won a game, and they did so in the most perfectly awful way possible. After that ninth inning, it doesn't really feel like the losing streak is over. It feels like Clay Buchholz' great start was muddied. It feels like the dominant Koji Uehara is slipping away from us less than a month after the team refused to sell him (presumably in hopes of keeping him on in the offseason, perhaps with a qualifying offer).
Had the ninth been a quiet bit of work from Clay, Koji, or any of the other bullpen arms, this would be one of those bright spots in a really dark year. Mookie homered! Buchholz was fantastic! But it feels like that was snatched away and replaced with this beat up junker of a W.
I feel like a real miserable jerk (you can substitute that particular noun for any of a number I don't feel like publishing on the front page) typing all this out. The Red Sox won, and that doesn't happen often enough to take it for granted these days. To actually complain about that? What kind of a fan does that?
Tonight, I do. I'm not happy about it, or proud of it. But it feels false to type up the story of the Red Sox getting ahead in the middle innings, faltering late, but managing to persevere through it all to pick up the win in the end. That feels like a story that should be written about the 2013 team, which found ways time and again to turn losses into wins. Not the 2014 team. The 2014 team takes wins and turns them into losses. And while the record books might suggest they avoided that tonight, it certainly doesn't feel that way.