The story that I am about to tell has been all too familiar to us this season so far. It’s a story that’s a recipe for disaster going forward; indeed, it’s already been a recipe of disaster every single time it’s taken place. It’s an ugly and unfortunate story, and technically it’s a story that could have been avoided (but that’s another story). Right now, on this team, it’s the worst story of all.
It’s the story of the bullpen.
Everything started out so nicely. Doubront allowed one run on four hits while walking three and striking out seven. That one run was the product of a solo shot with two out in the sixth. His only one-two-three inning was the fourth, during which he threw fifteen pitches, but his game low was eleven in the third; at the other extreme, he threw twenty-two in the second and twenty-one in the fifth. All in all, a very solid start indeed and one that was half of why we were in the game after he left.
The other half was the offense, which made itself busy by scoring nine runs before the Evil Empire scored any: two in the first, three in the second, two in the third, and two more in the fifth.
In the first, Gonzalez and Papi both hit RBI doubles. In the second, Aviles and Pedroia both hit RBI singles, and Sweeney hit a sac fly. In the third, McDonald hit a sac fly with the bases loaded, and Aviles hit an RBI single. In the fifth, Salty opened with a double after which Ross homered to center field. It was a wallop of a swing on the second pitch of the at-bat, a slider clocked at eighty-seven miles per hour. It sailed straight out.
Those were the only runs we scored in the entire game. Even after Doubront allowed the home run, we were up by eight. I don’t know about you, but I was looking forward to that drubbing going on record in order to even our record against the Yanks this year and to deliver some sort of thrashing before they left Boston. I was hoping that it was going to be the first step in a series win and a compensatory measure for the loss we had to accept on Fenway’s hundredth birthday.
And then the bullpen entered the picture, and it ruined everything in the worst way.
It began almost immediately; the seventh inning saw three different pitchers alone. Padilla was first; he managed to secure the first out with a strikeout on four pitches. Then there were two consecutive singles and a four-pitch walk followed by that insult of insults: a grand slam, which was exactly what we needed on Friday to tie it. To add further insult to that insults of insults, it was hit on the first and only pitch of the at-bat. It was a thoroughly horrible experience to have to witness it. Now, you would think that at that point Bobby V. would change pitchers; more likely, after the bases were loaded you were probably thinking that he should change pitchers. Only after Padilla allowed a double after that did Bobby V. change pitchers.
He went to Albers. Aviles put runners at the corners thanks to a fielding error, and then Albers allowed another home run. Then he was replaced by Morales, who allowed a single followed by two quick outs, including a strikeout on three pitches.
The eighth saw four different pitchers. Morales stayed on the mound long enough to allow a single before he was replaced by Aceves. Aceves allowed an eight-pitch walk and an RBI double followed by an intentional and an unintentional walk. Then there was another RBI double and another intentional walk, at which point Aceves was relieved by Thomas. Thomas induced a double play but then allowed another RBI double followed by a single, at which point he was replaced by Tazawa, who allowed an RBI single and then the final out of the inning.
We went down in the eighth, the Yanks went down in the ninth, and in the bottom of the ninth we hit two singles and that was it.
So just to recap: the Yanks scored fifteen runs. One in the sixth, and seven each in the seventh and eighth. Not seven total over two innings, which would have been bad enough. Seven each. As in, they scored seven runs twice in two separate innings, during which our bullpen faced a combined twenty-three batters, in the same game. It was actually sickening to watch it. Sickening. It was so egregiously bad that I just don’t know what to think anymore. Something obviously has to be done; it’s not like we can afford to have a bullpen that keeps doing this.
It’s humiliating and embarrassing and gut-wrenching and completely pathetic to hold an eight-run lead and then lose it over the course of essentially two innings. But did we really have to go through that at the hands of the Yankees? Of all teams, why did it have to be the Yankees?
It’s been a very long time since I’ve seen the bullpen fail so epically and totally. I mean, it was a whole failure in every sense of that phrase. The bullpen left absolutely no stone unturned in ensuring that Red Sox Nation was privy to one of the worst losses we’ve ever had the displeasure to see in a very long time, and that includes all of the other badness that’s happen to us this season so far.
Aviles, Pedroia, and Ross all went two for five; Papi was perfect at the plate with a four-for-four performance. We posted seventeen hits, seven of which were for extra bases, all but one of which was a home run. So even if the Yankees had scored seven runs in only one of those innings and not the other, we would have managed to win by one. But no. Our bullpen had to let the Yankees take batting practice. And our closer, in case you were wondering, didn’t even record a single out for the third time this year. The final score was 15-9.
By the way, we traded Michael Bowden and a player to be named later to the Cubs for Marlon Byrd, being that most of our outfield is on the DL and whatnot. And Youk left the game in the fourth with a left quad contusion.
In other news, the Caps beat us again, 4-3. There is no room for mistakes anymore.