I just wanted to give a quick rundown of my opinion of Sunday's game. Especially now, tempered and happy by the results of Monday's game (which will be recapped shortly), I feel like I can write about the disaster on Sunday. Beckett wasn't bad. He wasn't the dominating, hellfire and brimstone spitting Texan that we needed. He was sort of a muted version of himself. If there was hellfire within, I certainly didn't see it. That said, he still kept the Sox in the game. Yes, he only pitched 6 1/3 innings, and gave up three runs (one earned), but we were still in it. I believe the Sox took the lead in the bottom of the seventh, but I don't feel like looking it up because the headlines and the reminder of the loss make me sad. The win was right within our grasp. We could all feel it. And then.... then it just slipped out of our fingers and it was gone.
Papelbon ultimately got the blown save and the loss. God knows I love picking on Papelbon. I do, but you cannot pin this all on him. He had gotten two outs in the top of the 8th, and labored through them. Had he looked particularly sharp, I would have felt better about it, but he didn't. Going into the 9th, his pitch count was getting a little high, and it worried me. I think he was right around 40 pitches when the game got out of control and he gave up the doubles that would tie it up. I know there is no easy decision for the manager when your closer is asked to get five outs and he labors through them. I can't say that if I were Tito, I would have pulled Pap. You have to figure that he's going to work his way out of it, but he just couldn't. Once the pitch count got too high, I think most people knew what was coming, but there was nothing we could do. As we saw, replacing Pap didn't really work out too well, but would it have gone differently if we had pulled him earlier? The closer doesn't always have to be the last one in the game.
I don't know what I would have done differently. All I know is that when he was pitching and you could see he wasn't hitting his spots, I sort of knew that he would blow it. Yet, strangely, I don't blame him. I'm more inclined to blame Tito, but again, I don't know what could have been done differently. It was an ugly end to an ugly series. Sloppy defense and some impossible pitching choices led to a sweep by the wrong colored Sox. Thankfully, the beating is over now, but man, did it feel like we had all been punched in the gut, or was it just me?
I'm glad that my next post gets to be more upbeat, because these downtrodden 'why does this keep happening' sort of posts are starting to make me sad.... so, let's just move along.
2 months ago