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Red Sox 0, Indians 2: With a whimper

With one game to go, the Red Sox are crawling their way to the finish line.

David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

This is how the season ends...

Alright, so there's one more game to go. But after going on a six-game tear, the Red Sox have now dropped three straight, and this last one was the most lifeless performance of them all.

The last time Craig Breslow took the mound in the first, the Red Sox seemed destined to lose the game because...well, because Craig Breslow took the mound in the first. That's not a recipe for success, except that twice now, it's resulted in pretty excellent performances from the pitching staff as a whole.

There was no shutout in the cards tonight, as there was against the Orioles. Carlos Santana made sure of that in the second inning, when he put a run on the board for Cleveland, crushing what appeared to be a badly missed location on an 0-1 fastball from Breslow into the left field stands. Ryan Raburn did much the same to a likewise misplaced slider to lead off the fourth.

The two solo shots, however, were the aberrations to an otherwise fine night of pitching from Breslow. The lefty reliever-turned-starter made a strong push for a quality start, allowing only a few scattered hits aside from the two bombs as he pitched into--but not through the end of--the sixth inning. The rest of the bullpen, in the form of Matt Barnes, Tommy Layne, and Heath Hembree were also capable of keeping the Indians in check, though Barnes' survival was in spite of some sketchy pitching.

All that, though, mattered little with the Red Sox lineup just not doing much of anything. Corey Kluber made it clear from the beginning that this wasn't going to be much of a contest at all. He suffered from a few control problems early on, walking Mookie Betts and Deven Marrero in the first couple innings, but that hardly matters when you rack up seven strike outs in the first eleven plate appearances.

The strikeouts slowed dramatically from that point, but only because the Red Sox were increasingly desperate and aggressive against Kluber, replacing their late swings and misses with early weak contact. And two of the times the Red Sox did actually manage to pick up hits off Kluber--coming from Sandy Leon, believe it or not--he was quickly erased, first because of a botched hit-and-run, and then later by way of the double play. Adding injury to insult, one of Kluber's errant pitches caught Brock Holt square on the kneecap, forcing him from the game (and, given the date, likely ending his season).

And that was about it for Boston. A couple walks, a few hits, and a whole lot of getting destroyed by Kluber. And three sad losses leading up to Game 162.

This is the way the season ends.
This is the way the season ends.
This is the way the season ends.
Not with a bang, but a whimper.