Last night’s game really hinged on two moments.
In the second inning, we had the bases loaded, and the Injuns walked Ortiz to get to Manny. In the second inning. And I’m thinking, “My god… they’re playing right into our hands! This is how we’d always dreamed it would happen.” So, like countless other drunks across Red Sox Nation, I’m sitting there waiting for the moonshot, the final twist of the knife, the let’s-put-this-one-to-bed-early-and-see-what’s-on-Cinemax moment. But… it never happened. Manny corked a pop fly to center, and that was that. Instant buzzkill. Well played, Wedgie.
You’re welcome. Next, we have Exhibit B: Ken Huckabee up with the bases loaded and nobody out in the sixth. At this point, we were down by four, but any sort of magic could have set us back on track. As if to doom us instantly, Jerry Trupiano notes, “What you really don’t want here is the double play ball.” Two seconds later: the double play ball. And somewhere in the gallows of Fenway Park, a clubhouse kid is told to ready a cab to Pawtucket.
Of course, if it wasn’t for the latest Josh Beckett meltdown — this one in the top of the sixth — it wouldn’t have mattered if Huckabee somehow managed to set off a triple play. But with those two home runs, including a friggin’ grand salami to the mighty Shin-Soo Choo [sarcasm], Beckett effectively saddled us with a pair of cement shoes. And we never clawed our way back.
So what are we left with? Well, Javy Lopez, for one thing. And the ill feeling that, were it not for Carmona’s meltdown on Wednesday and Papi’s heroics on Monday, we came dangerously close to getting swept by a sub-.500 team. In our house. That’s not a good sign. And I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little bit concerned about heading down to Tampa Bay, where the D-Rays have always played us tough.
The next few days and weeks will be telling. I’ll be fortifying myself with plenty of Liquid Optimism. And I would ask that you do the same.
Oh, and this:
Great Moments in Broadcasting #8829: During last night’s gamecast on EEI, Trup made a reference to Indians pitching coach Carl Willis, promting Castig to bust with an impromptu “whatchoo talkin’ bout, Willis.” It was the stuff that radio dreams are made of.