Honestly, it doesn’t get much more infuriating than that. I’m just going to jump right in because it’s really tough to deal with it all.
Cook pitched decently. He only lasted five innings, and he gave up three runs on seven hits while walking none and striking out two. He went one-two-three in the first and second, and gave up a double in the third. He gave up a solo shot to lead off the fourth followed by a single and then a two-run home run. Following two quick outs, he gave up a single, and then a fielding error put another runner on, but the inning ended there. He allowed a single in the fifth and a double to lead off the sixth, at which point he was replaced by Hill, who was replaced by Aceves after three batters.
Meanwhile, we reduced our deficit from three runs to two; in the bottom of the fourth, Pedroia doubled with one out and scored on a single by Loney.
Aceves came out for the seventh and gave up a single followed by a two-run home run of his own, which made the score 5-1. Two outs later, he gave up a double and was replaced by Carpenter, who ended the inning. In the bottom of the seventh, we made another dent in the score. Ross began the inning by striking out, but then Salty and Nava hit back-to-back doubles. The Yanks sent out their third pitcher of the inning, and then Salty scored on a groundout by Gomez and Nava scored on a double by Aviles. 5-3.
Carpenter handled the eighth without incident baseball-wise but with incident drama-wise; when Bobby V. came out to the mound and Aceves saw Carpenter coming in, he walked to the other side of the mound to avoid Bobby V. when he left the field. In terms of the bottom of the inning, we failed to score. But it was not without further drama.
Ross ended the inning on a called strike; the at-bat featured seven pitches, all but one of them sliders, and the count had been full. Ross and everyone else who had a pair of decently functioning eyes could see that that last supposed strike was actually a ball because it was low, and he let home plate umpire Alfonso Marquez know it immediately. So Marquez rejected him; it was only the second rejection in Ross’s career. Several minutes later, Bobby V., who had separated Ross and Marquez, went back out there to have a talk with him that obviously got heated pretty quickly and was ejected for the sixth time this year, which sets the record for the most single-season ejections by any manager we’ve ever had in our long, illustrious history. And at some point even third base coach Jerry Royster was ejected for some reason, so bench coach Tim Bogar was managing and coaching third at the same time at the end of it all. The whole situation was just absurd and could have been neatly avoided had Marquez just done his job and saw reality.
Anyway, Miller and Padilla teamed up to shut out the Yanks in the top of the ninth, and the stage was set for another possible walkoff. Salty’s leadoff at-bat was exactly the kind of at-bat you hope for most in those situations. The count was full and he got an eighty-three mile-per-hour slide as his sixth pitch. He’s a big guy, and he unleashed his formidable power on it and sent it out of the park to right field for a solo shot that only he could have powered out of the park. We were now one run away with nobody out, and between Salty having made it look so easy and our last-minute heroics of the previous night, we were daring to believe that we could potentially pull it off again.
But we didn’t. Nava flied out, Gomez grounded out, and Aviles reached on a fielding error. Ellsbury could have put the whole thing away right then and there. But he grounded out instead.
So we lost, 5-4. But no one can say we didn’t put up a fight. Because we did, both literally and figuratively. We manufactured our own runs and pulled ourselves up by our bootstraps in the face of a deficit and dared to call a ball, a ball. We just kept going at it all night long, but we came up just short in the end. It’s just so infuriating. I mean, I have to think that we’ve lost this way to plenty of other teams this year since clearly we’re in the business of losing every way to every other team this year, but to do it against the Yankees is particularly brutal. We were almost there; we just needed one more run to tie it, and we could take care of them in extras. And we couldn’t get it done. It’s the story of our 2012 baseball lives.
On a more cheerful note, we have next year’s schedule, so assuming that we’re optimistic, it’s a reminder of something to look forward to. The season starts for us on April 1 in the Bronx; we follow Opening Day with a day off and then conclude the three-game series. We then head off to Toronto for three games, and then we head home for our home opener against Baltimore, which is followed by another day off. We then finish our series with Baltimore and play the Rays before spending three games in Cleveland and going back home to face the Royals, A’s, and newly-AL Astros. Then we have a day off and we go back to Toronto and then to Arlington, our first full series of May. The Twins and Jays comprise another homestand, followed by a day off and another road trip against the Rays, Twins, and Other Sox. Then back home we’ve got the Tribe and the Phillies, followed by a series at Philadelphia and then the Bronx, followed by a day off. That takes us to June, our first full series of which is at home against the Rangers and then the Angels. Then we head off to Toronto and Baltimore before another day off and coming home to face the Rays. Then we head off to Detriot before another day off and another homestand featuring the Rockies, the Jays, a day off, and the Padres in July. Then it’s off to the West Coast for the Angels, Mariners, and A’s before the All-Star break. When play resumes, we host the Yanks and Rays before a trip to Baltimore and a day off. The west then comes to us as we host the Mariners and D-Backs at home, which brings us to August. We then travel to Houston and Kansas City before taking a day off and traveling to Toronto. We host the Yanks at home after that, followed by a trip to San Francisco, a day off, a trip to Los Angeles for the Blue Sox, another day off, and then a homestand featuring the Orioles, Other Sox, and Tigers, which brings us to September. We go to the Bronx after that, take a day off, go to Tampa Bay, and return home for the Yanks, a day off, the Orioles, the Jays, and another day off. Then we go to Colorado for two games, take a day off, and go to Baltimore for the last series of the season. So we’ve got at least three days off every month except one: May, our most packed month, when we only have one day off. But it’s a good schedule. It’s interesting that Interleague is sort of spread out this year instead of being clustered in June. It’s often a tough schedule, and we have to play some worthy opponents, but if all goes according to plan, we’ll be able to hold our own next year.
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