Is it better to lose after a grueling thirteen-inning ordeal or after a quick nine-inning contest that lasts only two hours and forty-three minutes? In the former scenario, you feel like you’ve played all that baseball for nothing, that you had the game within your grasp at least once but couldn’t close the deal, and that, as a result, you just let it slip through your fingers. In the latter scenario, you feel humiliated and embarrassed because you couldn’t even eke out enough runs to push the game into extras, where if you lose, you do so with the dignity of knowing that at least you put up a fight, even if you know you’ll feel that extra playing time tomorrow.
In the end, however, they’re both losses. They’re both awful in their own ways.
This was one of Dempster’s best starts yet. The trend is definitely positive; the more we see of him, the better he performs. This time, he was one out shy of pitching a full eight innings of two-run ball. He gave up five hits and five walks while striking out four. He gave up a solo shot to lead off the second, and his second run resulted from a single-walk-single combination.
He threw a lot of pitches. All told, he threw 122. That’s a lot. There are pitchers out there, at least two of whom are on our staff, who would be capable of tossing a complete game with less. But that’s not the point. Yes, we’ve wanted to demonstrate efficiency. But more importantly in the short term, he has demonstrated more and more endurance with every start. Every time he goes deeper in a game, he demonstrates the stamina necessary to ensure durability in the long haul of a very long season.
He secured the inning’s first two outs, but thanks to a double and two walks, one intentional and one not, he left the bases loaded for Uehara, who proceeded to end the inning on a foul-tip strikeout.
As impressive as our pitching staff was, it looked like our offense was all worn out. We could claim credit for three hits, four walks, and no runs. That’s right. We were completely and wholly shut out. Thankfully it wasn’t a no-hitter; Victorino and Iglesias, the proud owner of the night’s only multi-hit game, ensured that. Iglesias’s double was our only extra-base hit.
So we lost, two-zip. We managed to keep it to nine innings this time, but losing after thirteen and losing after nine, in the end, mean the same thing.