We lost again. How ’bout that? Only this time it was even more painful than usual because this time we could have won easily. Except that, really, it can’t be more painful than usual since we’ve had plenty of losses like this one as well. So really it’s just another in a long line of diverse and painful losses.
But seriously, this one was really bad. Like, it was really, really bad. We seriously were so close to winning; all we had to do was hold on. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
We scored first. Ellsbury was dropped in the lineup but produced anyway; with one out in the second, Ross walked, and then Ellsbury went deep on a changeup to right for two runs on one swing. It was awesome. We haven’t seen power from him in a while, so it’s good to know he’s still got it.
Meanwhile, Buchholz was on a roll. The extent of the Jays’ threats during the first two innings was one walk in each, and then they singled in the third before finally scoring in the fourth. Unfortunately, they erased our two-run lead in the process and established a one-run lead of their own. After securing the inning’s first out on a three-pitch strikeout, Buchholz gave up three consecutive singles that brought in one run, a sac fly that brought in the tying run, and another single that brought in the go-ahead run.
Both teams then went down in order in the next two half-innings. Kalish walked in the fifth, but the inning ended with a pickoff. Buchholz took down the Jays in order in the sixth, and then Pedroia tied the game at three with a solo shot in the bottom of the inning, going deep on a slider, his second pitch of the at-bat, which sailed out toward the Monster. So all three of our runs were scored via the long ball.
Both teams then went down in order until the top of the ninth. Buchholz induced a groundout to start it off. But then the badness happened. It was the badness that would cause us to lose the ballgame. He gave up a single, which may as well have been a double thanks to a steal. He then gave up another single, which also resulted in a steal. He then issued an intentional walk to load the bases.
Now, in the grand scheme of things, what happened next would have been considered a fantastic play given any other circumstances. Buchholz gave up a sac fly, which scored a run. Normally, you accept the fact that, with the bases loaded, you take the out even if it means you allow a run, and if you escape from that situation after having allowed only one run, you’re in great shape. The problem is that, sometimes, you’re in a tie situation and that run is the dealbreaker that decides your fate. So given the circumstances, during any other season, this loss would have to have been accepted as a loss that you sometimes have to expect to endure. But this is not any other season. This is a season during which we’re losing as much as we’d have been winning during any other season. And so it’s worse. Much, much worse.
Tazawa issued a walk and then ended the inning on a strikeout. We failed to score in the bottom of the ninth, so we lost, 4-3. The irony, of course, was that Bobby V. came out to the mound with one out in the ninth and Buchholz was convinced his night was done. It begs the question of what would have happened had Buchholz been right. At the time, I think I speak for all of Red Sox Nation when I say that, at the time, we had no reason to believe that the ball should be taken away from him. Hindsight, of course, is always twenty-twenty. We just got swept.
In other news, now that the regular season is underway, let’s talk about the Patriots! In preseason, we beat the Saints but lost to the Eagles, Bucs, and Giants. Fortunately, we started the regular season off right, beating the Titans, 34-13.