The badness keeps on coming and coming. It just doesn’t stop. Just when you think we somehow finally pulled it together with hardly any games left to play so that at least we can go out with our heads held high, we reach a new low.
I don’t even know where to start. I’ll start with the hitters, because there’s less to discuss, which was obviously a big part of the problem. We actually scored first; Ciriaco hit the fourth pitch of the game for a single, stole second, and scored on a single by Ellsbury. We were still leading after three; Iglesias worked a five-pitch walk to start the third, Ciriaco singled, and then Ellsbury singled and Pedroia grounded into a force out to bring both of them in. That was the last time we led because those were the last runs we scored. Of the rest of our innings, four were spent going down in order, and in the two remaining innings we only had one runner on at one time in each, none of whom went past first.
The Rays were not so unlucky because our pitchers were awful. They were just embarrassingly, pathetically awful. It all started with Dice-K, who went one-two-three in the first, which was not at all an indication of what was to come. In the second, he allowed three consecutive singles to load the bases and then walked in a run, all without recording an out. In the third, he gave up a single, which turned into a double thanks to a steal and then into a run one out later thanks to another single. He gave up a solo shot on his third pitch of the fourth followed by a single and another home run followed by a double.
That was when Aceves came in. Aceves got out of the fourth and even pitched through the fifth. But he got into trouble in the sixth. To start the inning, he issued a five-pitch walk. Then he gave up single, and both runners advanced thanks to his throwing error. Then he gave up a bases-clearing triple that may as well have been a home run because the hitter scored also on a missed catch by Ciriaco. Then Aceves gave up a double.
That was when Bard came in. Bard did not get out of the sixth. It only took him nine pitches to issue two consecutive walks. He then gave up a sac fly that scored one run and a single that scored another. He then issued another five-pitch walk to load the bases.
That was when Miller came in. Miller didn’t get out of the sixth, either. He also issued two consecutive walks, which both walked in runs since the bases were loaded and reloaded.
That was when Atchison came in. Atchison got out of the sixth and even pitched through the seventh. Carpenter came on for the eighth and gave up a double. He got the first out on a flyout, but then the runner advanced to third on a passed ball and scored on a single. Two walks and one out later, the bases were loaded again, but Carpenter managed to close the door this time.
So, after all was said and done, the final score was 13-3. We made two errors and passed one ball, but all of the runs we allowed were earned. In total, our pitchers struck out five but walked ten and allowed fifteen hits. That’s right. We walked twice as many batters and allowed three times as many hits as strikeouts. Dice-K took the loss. The only pitcher under whose watch no runner crossed the plate was Atchison. That’s one pitcher out of six. It was so bad that, after the Rays, who are supposedly in a slump right now, scored seven runs in the sixth, there was a massive exit of most of the starters to start the seventh inning.
And just like that, we’ve clinched our first losing season since 1997.