I’ve known it was over for a long, long time. But after last night’s implosion in the Bronx, now I know it’s over over.
As the Sox were circling the drain of the American League coming into September, I figured they might at least have enough piss and lightning in their stride to play spoiler to other AL east playoff hopefuls. That Mookie and Yoenis and Napoli would be hanging their asses out of the team bus as we rolled into town, heralding the arrival of the team that nobody wanted to play with a postseason spot on the line. The team with nothing to lose, and every reason in the world to want to put a hurting on you.
Instead, the month kicked off with a dispiriting loss to the Rays, giving us a split of a four game series that I’d hoped would be Tampa Bay’s death knell. Then we rolled into the Bronx with a chance to push the Yanks a little bit further into the quicksand. On Tuesday, after a 9 run explosion, I figured we were ready to take them down with us.
But last night’s gut-churning, nut-punching, ass-burning loss only served to underscore what a wretched season this has been for the Boston Red Sox. And that the only team whose efforts we’re capable of spoiling is our own.
Despite the best efforts of David Ortiz, who blasted two home runs and is having yet another absolute beast of a season, the Sox couldn’t hold on to a one-run lead in the ninth, with Koji imploding in what has sadly become a reliably jaw-dropping fashion, giving up back-to-back home runs that allowed New York to tie and then walk-off with the game.
To be honest, the loss doesn’t bother me that much. The 2014 Red Sox Express is going nowhere, and we’ve known that since the All Star Break. Even a missed chance to eff up the Yanks’ season doesn’t grind at me as much as seeing Koji so god damn ineffective. I don’t want anything to muddy up that image of him floating out of the bullpen last season as the Japanese Angel of Death, and the improbable way he sliced up all comers in the 2013 playoffs. Which was even more impressive when you figure that the guy wasn’t even our closer coming out of spring training last year.
Still, as I noted last night on Twitter, if the Baseball Gods (a division of Gammons, Inc.) had come to me last October and said we could ride Koji to a World Series championship but he’d be shit the next year, I’d have taken it. And you would have, too. Yes, you. Over there. I see you hiding.
Since July, I’ve known we weren’t getting a contender this season. This week, I’d have settled for a spoiler.
But now… I’m just waiting for Opening Day 2015.