Friday, May 09, 2008

Game 38: The Blame Game

Final Score: Boston Red Sox 6, Minnesota Twins 7

I've been cursing at Julio Lugo the whole game, ever since he picked up error number eleven by dropping yet another ground ball to short and missing the opportunity to gun down Carlos Gomez for what would have been the third out. In my head - particularly if they lost, I thought, although I had no qualms about ripping Lugo's fielding again no matter what the final score - the two runs that scored that inning should have been added to Lugo's total, not the Red Sox, making the score an unusual (if all too correct) Red Sox 2, Twins 2, Julio Lugo 2.

Unfortunately, while it's never as easy as it seems to assign goatitude to a particular player, no matter how much he's done to deserve it, Boston played tonight's game so poorly that I must calm my irrational impulses to murder the shortstop in prose and spread the blame to his teammates, where, as we'll see, it most definitely belongs.

Let's start with Lester, who added a new touch to his repertoire of suck: rather than walk everyone, he gave them hits (and then runs) instead. How he managed to survive more than five innings is a mystery for the ages, but after two straight quality outings, Lester returned quickly to his evil ways. And Lord knows [he]'s got to change. Fortunately for him, he avoided the stigma of a loss thanks to the one solid element of tonight's contest: the non-closing relief. Aardsma and Okajima, my hat's off to you: you kept Minnesota off the base paths and off the scoreboard for the better part of three innings, and while Papelbon couldn't seal the deal, your efforts made his appearance possible. Would that everyone else had been like you two tonight.

Like, say, the offense. Sure, they managed to chase the Boof after four innings plus by pounding his pitches back into the Stone Age, but though his backup allowed five hits and two walks over the next five innings, the Sox couldn't mount an effective bombardment program and score some badly-needed runs. Instead, they left 11 men on base, including an almost criminal 7 men in scoring position, setting up the tragic circumstances where a utility player knocks in the winning, walk-off (just to twist the knife a little further) runs off one of the best closers in baseball.

So, as you can see, Lugo's not the only goat left staked out in front of the T-Rex pen after tonight's game: from top to bottom, nearly everyone played their crappy part to create another Metrodome loss. Halle-frickin'-lujah; I'm going to bed.