Game 25 – Red Sox
Oakland A’s 5, Red Sox 4 (10)
The Sox led, 4-2, heading to the 9th. Jonathan Papelbon was rested and warmed up. Book it. Sox win.
Except they didn’t. I don’t know who was more surprised when Eric Byrnes clone Travis Buck ripped an 0-2 fastball from Papelbon into the right-field seats: me, Papelbon, or Buck. Everyone in Fenway, from the fans to the players in both dugouts, sorta gave each other a Don Knotts double take. Papelbon hitched up his pants and made a face like someone had passed gas in a crowded elevator.
The Sox had a chance to win the game in the bottom of the 9th, failing on two chances with runners in scoring position. The A’s completed the gamejacking by scoring in the top of the 10th, and Huston Street sheepishly stole Papelbon’s save.
So Papelbon’s human. Next thing you’ll tell me is that Hideki Okajima’s not the next generation of Sony’s robot dog.
I was far more stunned than angry watching the top of the 9th, which is a testament to how quickly and completely Papelbon has gained Sox fans’ confidence. I suppose this must be what Yankee fans used to feel like on the rare occasions when Mariano Rivera blew saves during his prime. (Yeah, I just tugged on that cape.)
Nothing to do but get back on the horse, which is what I’m betting Papelbon said after the game – I’m far too lazy to actually look it up.
The offense nearly got away with a mostly anemic performance yesterday, scoring a lone run against Joe Blanton after tallying a very fortunate 3 in the bottom of the first. The pitching staff’s been good to very good, but they’re gonna need some help from their friends with the sticks to keep up this .640 pace.
Josh Beckett on the hill today with the Sox needing to get last night out of their system. Papelbon threw a bunch of pitches, so he’s probably not available. Time to wind up Mike Timlin v2.0 and see what that old bucket of bolts has left.