Unless you’re Charlie Sheen mid-downward spiral, the word ‘winning’ is almost always associated with good things. But the Red Sox’s win tonight against the practically-minor league Miami Marlins was one of the ugliest I’ve ever seen. After scoring first, they tied the game at a run apiece before taking a 4-1 lead, their biggest lead in a game in almost a week.
Starter Brian Johnson was holding it down, and the lineup was actually scoring runs. After a traumatic weekend, I let myself hope that things were going back to normal.
Enter: the bullpen.
You can panic about Mookie’s hitting (or lack thereof lately), Chris Sale being on the DL, Eovaldi unraveling at the seams like an old sweater, but we all know the bullpen is our greatest weakness. And boy, did it show tonight, when the Barnes and Hembree combined forces in the 8th to gift-wrap five runs and a lead for the Miami Marlins, the team right behind the Detroit Tigers for fewest homers in MLB.
After Jackie Bradley Jr. drove in two to tie it in the bottom of the 8th and Ian Kinsler scored on Tayron Guerrero’s wild pitch to Mookie, the game was almost lost again in the top of the 9th, when Kimbrel walked back-to-back batters and then gave up the tying run on an RBI single to Magneuris Sierra. Had it not been for Eduardo Nuñez’s fantastic night (a home run and a walk-off hit that was almost a double-play), this game would have gone into extra innings with Alex Cora having already used five pitchers out of his pathetic bullpen.
Final score: 8-7.
So the Red Sox narrowly avoided losing their 4th straight game, and remain the only team in baseball without a losing streak longer than three games. Emphasis on narrowly. It would’ve been their first 4-game losing streak of the season, hot on the heels of their first time getting swept this season. Morale-wise, it would’ve been pretty bad, especially considering the teams to whom they’ve been losing.
Thankfully, the Sox pulled a win out of their asses. And as my Twitter followers love to remind me, a win is a win. But I think it’s totally valid to be disappointed in your team’s performance and at the same time, be happy that they did not lose. Not losing and winning are somewhat different. The way the Sox have been playing the last week or so, it’s hard not to be frustrated with them, even when they do manage a ‘win.’ Games like this one don’t merit a victory dance.
Am I crazy for wanting my team to play well in addition to winning games? For them to not give up massive home runs to teams at the bottom of the home-run rankings? To not blow the lead not once, not twice, but three times in a single game?
It’s especially discombobulating to see a slump from a Red Sox team this talented. A team who, for the majority of this season, have been phenomenal beyond our wildest dreams, miles ahead of the pack. That’s the real reason this kind of game is so hard to watch. Because we know they’re so much better than whatever the hell this was tonight.
So we’ll take the win with a giant grain of salt. And with David Price pitching tomorrow, I hope to truly being able to enjoy a win very soon.