For all the majestic things that have been going on with this team [12 game win streak! Loretta an All Star! Tavarez still not spotted pantsless in Kenmore Square!], I seem to have taken the Debbie Downer perspective of late. During the D-Rays series, I really thought we’d get swept away. Then I predicted a 1-2 swing through Chicago. And yesterday, when The Papel-Bot gave up a home run with two outs in the ninth, I hung the mental L. Little did I know it would take another freakin’ ten innings for this to materialize.
In what turned out to be essentially a double header with a special added bonus inning, there’s just so much to digest, so much emotional investment, that you don’t want it to slip through your fingers. You figure, “We’ve come this far. We’ve got to hold on to win.” So when Iguchi singled in the winning run in the bottom of the ninteenth, selfishly, my thoughts turned to the six and a half hours of my life that I’ll never get back. Dude, I could have driven to Mystic, CT, for a couple T-bones at The Steak Loft. Or screened every episode of Fawlty Towers. Or walked from West Roxbury to Revere Beach and back [following the legendary "Westie to Kelly's" route the early settlers once traveled].
As you might expect in a game that spreads across nineteen innings, there were plenty of missed opportunities. One that immediately comes to mind is that fourth inning affair, when Ortiz came up with the bases loaded. The Big Man worked a 3-0 count, then flied out to right. Of course, El Papizito is one of the few Sox who possesses a year-round Get Out of Jail Free card, so I just don’t feel right razzing the dude. But, man, had he taken a couple pitches, he might have worked a walk, leaving the bases still loaded for Manny. In such a situation, it turns out, one run would have been every bit as valuable as four.
You also have to look to a couple glaring zeros across those nineteen innings. Collectively, Nixon and Tek went 0-for-17, and, true to their buzzkilling form, they also combined to make the final out of the inning six times. Sadly, The Captain has become the guy you don’t want to see at the plate when the game’s on the line. If, back in April, someone told me that Tek would be hitting .232 at the All Star Break, and that A-Gon would be at .284, I would have suggested that they up their meds immediately. But such is the case.
In the end, I’m just thankful that A.J. Pierzynski didn’t knock in the winning run. And, if you want to take the big picture view, we still won the series, taking 2 of 3 from one of the best teams in the mix. And the bullpen looked incredibly effective, particularly Delcarmen and — gasp — Tavarez.
But, with just a little something extra, it could have been a sweep. We coulda had ‘em all. And that’s what’s gonna eat at me until Thursday night.