And, sure enough, as has been the case so many times since he came aboard, it all came apart when Eric Gagne entered the picture. After striking out Casey Blake, the Canadian Loyalist, who practically refuses to execute a 1-2-3 inning under any circumstance, gave up a single and a walk and got his ass lifted but quickly by Titio, who I’m sure could imagine fans storming the gates and killing Gagne with their bare hands. One can only hope that Gagne just kept walking off the field, through the gates of Fenway, down to the waterfront and out to the airport where he hopped the first plane back home. Because the guy is clearly useless to us from this point forward.
Next came the Javier Lopez/Jon Lester Comedy Hour, which was so outrageous in its awfulness that, to paraphrase Animal House, decorum prevents me from recounting it here. Let’s just say that the Indians scored 7 times — with returning antihero Trot Nixon leading the breakout.
It was a outrageously bad ending for a game that, until the eleventh, marked the welcome return of Heart Attack Theatre — both teams trading the lead with dramatic hits and home runs until hitting that 6-6 deadlock. With a heady mix of alcohol and caffeine pumping through my veins, I found myself pacing and punching and swearing and kicking at walls in a manner typically reserved for October games against the Yankees. And it felt good.
But when Tito pulled the trigger and brought out The Bot in the ninth with the score tied, he was playing for us to win it in the bottom of that inning or, at worst, the tenth. Once that didn’t happen, the wheels came off the wagon, and rather f@#king quickly. Were I Tito, I might have chanced another inning with Timlin, who looked remarkably good in the eighth. But if he had, and Timlin blew it, we’d be hanging Teets by his underwear off the Bunker Hill Monument. So it’s really a case of damned if you do, damned if you don’t.
Honestly, I was more dismayed by that play in the top of the sixth, when Frankie Gutierrez grounded to short with men on first and third and nobody out. Lugo paused a moment, then fired to first, but I was screaming for him to throw it home just to keep another precious run from scoring. The run in question was Cleveland’s sixth, the one that knotted the game and effectively sent us to extra innings. Could Lugo have gotten the runner? Not sure… but it’s still got me wondering.
Anyway, if there’s any silver lining, it has to be that I had already mentally conceded this game, what with Carmona on the mound. But having seen Carmona and Sabathia, I’m not all that impressed. And Borowski, even with a seven run lead, gave up a couple loud hits in the bottom of the eleventh. I think we’ll be just fine at the Jake next week. But that could be the booze talking.