I think that, by the time this season comes to an end for us, we will have experienced almost every single way a ballclub could possibly lose. Including the most painful ones. Like when you’re down by a substantial amount of runs and then come back to tie it and then drop it anyway.
What a ride. It was spectacular for just long enough to get our hopes all the way up. Of course, that means it hurts that much more when you fall down. And we fell down yesterday.
It started with Beckett. If Beckett hadn’t pitched horribly, we wouldn’t have had to come back in the first place. He gave up eight runs on eight hits while walking two and striking out two. He lasted only five innings and threw eighty-six pitches. It was horrible. His pitches were off, he got behind hitters, and he couldn’t close the deal. He just kept giving up hit after run after hit after run.
Beckett’s first at-bat should have been an indication of what was to come; he threw nine pitches and ended up giving in for a walk. And then he gave up a single, and then he gave up a triple and a sac fly which brought in three runs. Beckett closed out the Rangers in the second, third, and fourth; he actually went one-two-three in the second and fourth. But he fell apart some more in the fifth, during which he gave up two home runs. The first was a solo shot to open the frame. The second was a two-run home run after allowing a single. And as his last act of the game, Beckett gave up another two-run home run in the sixth, after giving up another single.
And that was when Mortensen replaced him. And he gave up a solo shot of his own in the seventh before going one-two-three in the seventh and giving up a walk and a single in the eighth.
And this is the part where I talk about the offense. We were down by three heading into the bottom of the first; we got two of those runs back when Pedroia singled and scored on a double by Gonzalez, who scored on a single by Ross. We pulled even at three in the third when Ross powered the fourth pitch of his at-bat, a cutter over to the Monster for a solo shot with two out. Thanks to Beckett’s home runs, the Rangers pulled ahead by three, a deficit that we reduced to one in the bottom of the fifth, when Crawford tripled and scored on a double by Gonzalez, who later scored on a passed ball. The Rangers extended their lead to three again after Beckett’s third and final home run and to four on Mortensen’s home run.
And then it happened. We made a comeback in the seventh, and we made it look easy. We made it look like it should have been us with the lead all along. We made it look like all we do is hit and run on a regular basis. More importantly, we made it look like we might actually win this game.
Pedroia singled and scored on a double by Gonzalez. Then Ross walked. And then it was Middlebrooks’s turn to bat. And he gave us a repeat performance. The power, the perfect timing, the intensity with which we needed those runs were all present. Middlebrooks saw two curveballs before getting the fastball with a speed increase of more than twenty miles per hour. And he just unleashed.
And that’s how we tied the game at nine and how we really believed that it was ours to win. Actually, it was ours to win. We just didn’t win it. Instead, Mortensen was relieved by Aceves, who did something as innocent as get a flyout. Normally this kind of thing ends innings or is of little consequence. But this mistake was so egregious that it resulted in a loss.
The final score was 10-9, and I am just so tired of this situation. How often has this happened to us? Way too often. Everyone knows the whole deal by heart: promising pitcher doesn’t live up to expectations, offense does its best to compensate, relief corps squanders offense’s effort. The fact that we are so well acquainted with this whole story is absolutely pathetic.