I wanted to go out with a bang. I really did. I was really hoping that, since we were playing the Yankees for our last series and therefore our last game of the year, we would do something to remind the world that we may have had a worse-than-worst year this year but we’d be back with a vengeance next year. I was hoping that we’d do something spectacular, like score a ton of runs or pitch exceptionally well, which for us, given the season we’ve had, would be nothing short of spectacular. I was hoping we’d have a hand in deciding who would win the division. At the most basic level, I was at least hoping that we’d walk away with our heads held high after a win over our archenemy.
Instead, we ended the season in a more appropriate fashion: with bad hitting, bad pitching, and a bad loss. We got shelled. And that’s much more indicative of our season this year than any win would have been.
Dice-K got the nod to start, and speaking of lasts, this may have been the last time you see Dice-K wear our uniform. If that’s true, this start was a similarly appropriate end for him because it was mediocre at the very best. He gave up five runs on six hits while walking one and striking out two over the course of only two and one-third innings. He threw forty-three pitches, twenty-seven of which were strikes. He went one-two-three in the first using only six pitches. But then he gave up a single and a walk to lead off the second before notching his second and final strikeout and giving up a three-run home run on his first pitch of the at-bat. He induced a groundout to start the third but then gave up another single followed by another home run. After giving up a single, Mortensen came on to finish the third inning.
Mortensen went one-two-three in the fourth and got the first out of the fifth, but then he gave up a double and a two-run home run of his own followed by two consecutive walks on five pitches each. Beato then came in and finished the fifth. To begin the sixth, he hit a batter, gave up a single, induced a groundout, and issued a five-pitch walk. Atchison then came in and gave up a single that scored two runs. He finished the sixth before Carpenter came on for the seventh and gave up a solo shot on his sixth pitch. He then issued a four-pitch walk, induced a lineout, gave up a single and then a double that scored two runs, and issued another walk. Breslow then came in and issued a four-pitch walk to load the bases and gave up a single and a sac fly that plated one run each before finally recording the last out. Tazawa went one-two-three in the ninth.
Meanwhile, Ellsbury had singled on the second pitch of the game and scored on a single by Ross two outs later. And with two out in the seventh, Ciriaco doubled and scored on a single by Iglesias. That was all. It was our last chance to score runs for half a year and we only came up with two. Other than that, we hardly threatened at all. Rare was the occasion when we got a runner past first base or multiple runners on base. By the time the game was over, hardly any of the Yankees’ starters were left on the field.
The final score was a crushing and humiliating 14-2. Only Ross and Ciriaco had multi-hit games; they each went two for three. Pedroia and Lavarnyway were the only ones who walked; each walked once. We pounded out a grand total of eight hits, only three of which were for extra bases, and all three of them were doubles.
And so ends the most disappointing season in recent memory. There’s nothing new to say. We’ve been losing so consistently and for such a long time that every possible way I could express the anger and confusion and frustration and embarrassment that we have steadily experienced this year has already been used to express it. We end hte season on an eight game losing streak and have only won one of our last thirteen games. We finish with a record of sixty-nine and ninety-three, our worst since 1965, which corresponds with a winning percentage of .426. We also finish twenty-six games out of first place in our division. We’re last in our division for the first time since 1992 and third-to-last in the league. It was awful. For an entire season we had to sit through injury after injury, loss after loss, and drama after drama. It was just crushing and exhausting and frustrating and infuriating. And strange; the Orioles are in the playoffs, and the Nationals have the best record in all of Major League Baseball? Who knew? But one thing’s for sure: we’ve got a lot of work to do this offseason. A lot of work to do. It’s going to be a long, cold winter, but hopefully it’ll be a busy one as the brass figures out how to fix this mess. We only have our hope for next year now.