It was as swift and savage as a skull-shattering brick to the head. Jonathon Papelbon, who had never given up a single run in the postseason in his seventeen career appearances, allowed three, yes, THREE EARNED runs in the top of the ninth inning and the LA Angels went on to win the game in true comeback fashion by a score of 7-6. The three run rally, after Papelbon allowed two Billy Wagner inherited runners to cross the plate the inning before, occured with two quick outs by the Boston closer. To say he and the Fenway Faithful were shellshocked would be an understatement of the highest order. Jonathon had this to say in a gut-wrenching postgame meeting with the media...
“I think things happened quick more than anything - I wasn’t able to stop the bleeding,” Papelbon said after a long moment in front of his locker, his ceaseless stare boring a hole through the back of the clubhouse couch after his 26-inning postseason scoreless streak ended. “Your team fights to put you in that situation, to call upon you, you let them down, it’s a feeling of there’s a lot of weight on your shoulders because your team expects you to pull through and deserve that win from you and when you don’t, it’s definitely not a good feeling.”
His manager had this to say...
“The season doesn’t wind down, it just comes to a crashing halt,” manager Terry Francona said. “You go into the top of the inning excited because you think you’re going to keep playing. Half an inning later, you’re going home.”
And here's Theo, who has his work cut out for him in the postseason...
“I think we got outplayed in this series,’’ Sox general manager Theo Epstein said. “We didn’t play our best baseball. We didn’t play all that well, all things told, over these last three games. And they certainly did. They deserve it. They outplayed us fair and square and deserve to move on. You have to be a really good team and play really well to win in the playoffs. We didn’t play well in this series.’’
Theo is correct...the Boston Red Sox did not play well enough to defeat this very good LA Angels team. They didn't hit in the first two games and yesterday...well, we all know that shoddy play and porous pitching was our undoing. I do not want to take anything away from starter Clay Buchholz. He pitched well and left with the lead in a game he should have won. He never left the dugout and was featured on many "between pitch" camera shots by TBS. Well done, Clay. We'll see you next year as our number three (or four, with Daisuke) starter. I don't think Wakes will be the number five guy but there's so much time for that discussion, too much.
I enjoyed this 2009 season. At times, the Red Sox overperformed, earning multiple game winning streaks. At other times, they did not play up to their capabilities and lost needlessly. Unfortunately, Sunday, Ocober 11, 2009 was one of those days. What might have been ain't going to happen, so we'll live with it. We'll survive and wait for next year when it starts all over again. That's the nature of this game called baseball. God willing, I'll be here for every day of the upcoming season and you'll hear from me just about every day for the rest of the fall and winter. Then, talk turns to spring training. I can't wait, but I'm getting ahead of myself. It happens.
I want to thank all my Constant Readers and every one of the "once in a while" people who visit my blog, my place of refuge at times. I wouldn't want to do it without you. Frankly, I plain old wouldn't do it at all! I owe you SO much and I hope you can leave a few 2009 comments before our eyes turn to 2010 and the accompanying bright hopes and shiny dreams. I'll be there...with you.
Click on the title for SI's complete coverage of yesterday's MLB playoff comings and goings and as always, BE WELL. See you tomorrow.