Almost Doesn’t Count
Unless we’re talking about hand grenades and horseshoes, of course… But, this is baseball.
David “Big Papi” Ortiz hit a grand slam in the bottom of the ninth inning to get us within one run of tying the game. We were trailing 6-1 with almost no hope of winning when we came up to bat in the ninth at Fenway Park. With one out, Detroit Tigers closer, Jose Valverde, walked the bases loaded and Big Papi took full advantage and went yard with his 22nd homer of the season. Adrian Beltre hit a 2-out double to keep the momentum up and J.D. Drew was then intentionally walked to enable a force-out. But, that wasn’t needed when Mike Cameron came up to the plate and with a full count, struck out looking to end the game. We walked off the field with the scoreboard showing 6-5 in the Tigers favor.
This was a tough loss for the Red Sox. There was one positive I can think of, though, and that is the determination and drive our players have. They didn’t give up. That is what baseball is all about. The game is never over until it’s over– not until the last out is made.
With that being said, we have to look back on this game and wonder what happened, wonder why we lost and what went wrong. I mean, if you look at who was on the mound for us tonight, and the fact that Papi hit a grand slam, and we still walk away with the loss, it just doesn’t make much sense.
Jon Lester had one of his worst outings. He gave up 4 runs on a career high 11 hits, throwing 115 pitches in 6 innings. I hoped after sweeping the Angels, and having an off-day, our offense would have stayed alive and we would dominate this series. However, we didn’t even get on the board until the 5th inning when Marco Scutaro hit a solo homer on a 1-1 pitch. We leave too many runners on base, especially RISP, in crucial situations. We must get on the board early and keep the momentum up throughout the game.
We need to make sure everyone stays healthy and hope that we can gain some major ground in the 59 games that are left to be played (currently we are 58-45). After the Rays beat the Yankees tonight at Tropicana field, we are now 6.5 games out of the wild card and 7.5 games from first. With the trade deadline quickly approaching (4 PM on Saturday), I really hope we can get some bullpen help. Luckily, Dustin Pedroia and Jacoby Ellsbury will be back in the line-up within the next few weeks so our fielding and offense should be set.
I feel like these wild, late-inning wins rarely happen for us anymore. I feel like all of Red Sox Nation is hurting, right along with our team, and nobody has any hope anymore. We have to keep the faith. Our boys, our players that we live for and watch every single day still have hope that we can do this, and we should too.
So, no, almost didn’t count tonight. But, can I please remind all of you about 2004? I’m sure none of you can forget, but take a look back at the standings on July 31st and tell me again that we can’t do this, and that there is no hope for us.