Postgame, White Sox 5-4: Poor relief and a game-winning hit off the third left fielder of the game. That’s the 2010 season for you, folks.
One other major aspect of the campaign has been Josh Beckett’s inability to get going. His rocky season ends Wednesday night.
Resigned to their fate, the Sox began to reflect a bit on the season following Tuesday’s loss.
“I’m sure we’ll have time when the season’s over to think about going home but my first thought is disappointment,” said Terry Francona. “You talk about whether you’re beat up or not but we like, we love, the group out there and the way they play and the way they try to play.
“To have to go home before you want to is no good.”
One bright spot concerns that trip home. When the Sox open a three-game set with the Yankees on Friday they may still have a chance to spoil their rivals’ A.L. East chances. Hey, it’s something.
We’ll follow all the action Wednesday night for you right here.
Final, White Sox 5-4: At least the playoff chances weren’t washed away on a play like that. Daniel Nava is unable to come up with a diving grab with a runner on third and two outs in the ninth and this one ends in walk-off fashion.
Can you imagine if the Yankees and/or Rays had lost and that happened? Anyway, a tough night ends in a tough way as the Sox blow a late 4-2 lead.
We’ll see what the mood is in the clubhouse now that this thing is all over. Back soon to finish it all up for you.
11:14 p.m.: Dustin Richardson came in in relief of Michael Bowden and walked the only man he faced, something we saw a bunch of from Richardson earlier this month.
Terry Francona is going to the bullpen for the third time in the bottom of the ninth. Runners are on the corners with two outs.
Mid 9th, 4-4: It would be a shame to lose on a night when you already lost. Like a double whammy. The Red Sox are in danger of doing so after they go quietly in the top of the ninth.
End 8th, 4-4: It’s interesting to hear people calling for a straight Daniel Bard-Jonathan Papelbon switch down the stretch. Maybe next year or the year after that could happen.
But it just shows how noticeable your mistakes are when you are the closer compared to the setup man. Bard has now given up five runs — four earned — on 12 hits and eight walks in just 12 innings this month. That’s a lot of base runners against your eighth-inning man.
The fireballer actually does a nice job not to give up the go-ahead tally by leaving a runner at third.
Mid 8th, Red Sox 4-3: Normally we would see Daniel Bard in the eighth and Jonathan Papelbon after that. With this one no longer meaning anything in terms of the standings we may see some lesser arms picking up the final six outs. Of course, as I type that Bard jogs in.
End 7th, Red Sox 4-3: Do not be surprised if Rich Hill is in the mix as a member of this bullpen in 2010. The club likes the challenge he poses to lefties and Hill is living the dream of playing for Boston anyway.
Hill bends but does not break in relief of Scott Atchison. The White Sox’ run comes on a Brent Morel single but Hill gets the next two in order to escape with the lead.
10:14 p.m.: Scott Atchison lasts two hitters and does not get an out before being removed. The White Sox have the tying runs on base with no outs.
Mid 7th, Red Sox 4-2: Some long faces in the Boston dugout, no doubt cognizant of the reality of the situation. Not that there was all that much hope left, but once it becomes a certainty it has to sting a bit.
The game has taken a back seat to glances back at where things went wrong. Obviously that starts and ends with the injuries, but there were other moments worth analyzing. We’ll take a closer look at that in the postgame story.
Scott Atchison is on in relief of John Lackey.
End 6th, Red Sox 4-2: The final nail in the coffin comes in the form of a Yankees win in Toronto, sealing the fate of the Red Sox.
The fact that they were written off months ago by some but still lived to call this a meaningful game says something. How they play over the final five games in the somewhat unfamiliar territory of being an also-ran will say another.
Mid 6th, Red Sox 4-2: David Ortiz slugs his 32nd home run to give the Red Sox another run. It is the fifth-highest total of his career.
Ortiz also now has 999 RBIs as a designated hitter, just four shy of tying Edgar Martinez for the all-time record.
End 5th, Red Sox 3-2: Omar Vizquel, who entered with three home runs in roughly 800 at-bats over the last three seasons entering this one, nearly gave the White Sox the lead but his drive with a man on dies at the track.
John Lackey has needed to throw 96 pitches in five. He has had to battle several deep counts.
Mid 5th, Red Sox 3-2: This isn’t meant to suggest that the Sox as an organization are in decline, but think about the results of the last four seasons.
They win the World Series in ’07, then lose in the ALCS in ’08, the ALDS in ’09 and then finish third in ’10. Certainly a downward trend from a results standpoint.
End 4th, Red Sox 3-2: As the Rays spray one another with champagne and the Yankees look to pile it on late in Toronto we see John Lackey serve up a two-run homer.
Sort of seems fitting, doesn’t it?
Mid 4th, Red Sox 3-0: As we just told you below, the Rays have clinched a spot in the postseason for the second time in three years with a win over Baltimore.
Within 30 minutes or so the Red Sox will see an “F” go up next to the Yankees score as well. At that point there will be no hope whatsoever for a playoff berth.
End 3rd, Red Sox 3-0: The first hit off John Lackey is also the first hit of Alejandro De Aza’s major league career. That’s all Chicago could muster in the third.
The Rays have clinched a playoff spot. It’s over in Tampa. The Yankees should finish in a matter of moments. They are up 5-1 in the eighth.
Mid 3rd, Red Sox 3-0: J.D. Drew is quietly finishing strong after a miserable stretch after the All-Star break. His 21st home run and second in three games gives the Sox 2-0 lead. Another run came in with an error, a single, a wild pitch and a sac fly by Adrian Beltre.
Drew is now hitting .297 (19-for-64) with four homers in September.
End 2nd, Red Sox 1-0: Two straight strikeouts ends the second for John Lackey, who will retake the team lead in innings pitched at some point once he gets through the third.
Since Lackey goes in the season finale Sunday he will likely finish first in that category.
Mid 2nd, Red Sox 1-0: Adrian Beltre is now one double shy of becoming the ninth player in team history to hit 50 doubles in a season (Nomar did it twice). He hits No. 49 and then comes in when Jed Lowrie hits his 14th two-bagger.
Lowrie gets to third but is stranded there when Felipe Lopez’s first at-bat in a Boston uniform results in a strikeout.
End 1st, 0-0: The Red Sox worked over Edwin Jackson to the tune of 21 pitches in the top of the first. John Lackey needs to throw 23 to get through the bottom half. Both walked one man.
The Yanks are up 3-1 in the sixth and the Rays are winning 5-0, also in the sixth. The season may be “over” within the hour.
Mid 1st, 0-0: Victor Martinez extends his hitting streak to 13 with a two-out single in the first. He is now batting .440 (22-for-50) during the hot stretch. David Ortiz struck out to end it.
Eric Patterson’s first plate appearance as the leadoff hitter for the Red Sox results in a walk and instantly puts Edwin Jackson in a situation. No player on the Sox has more steals than Patterson’s 10, although six of those came when he was with Oakland.
7:45 p.m.: Early returns out of Toronto and Tampa Bay are not good. The Yankees are up 2-0 while the Rays hold a 1-0 lead. And remember, CC Sabathia and David Price are on the mound, so comebacks will not be easy.
6:54 p.m.: We know that the offseason will bring about several big decisions for the Red Sox. The Adrian Beltre situation will be as intriguing as they come.
Beltre made a decision to sign for a year and it’s been known all along that he would test the market after that, or if he stunk would perhaps pick up his player option to stay in Boston and put forth another contract drive.
That won’t happen, of course. And with Scott Boras as his backer the best third baseman on the market (in all of baseball this year?) is going to demand big bucks. But there are so many factors to address beyond his mammoth numbers and stellar defense. We won’t go into all of that here, but wanted to point out the arguments for and against Beltre and the results of a contract poll on Fangraphs.com conducted earlier Tuesday. Pretty interesting stuff.
It’s become impossible for the Sox to not do everything they can to bring him back. They will be one of a handful of teams that can afford him, and holy mackerel has he fit in well.
5:48 p.m.: When the Red Sox signed Felipe Lopez some assumed it was just to let him walk and pick up a draft pick if/when he signs with another team.
That very well might be the case but the club did say he would spell Marco Scutaro down the stretch. There are days when Scutaro feels worse than others, and this must be one of those days, despite the fact that he had three hits Monday night.
As for why Eric Patterson is playing center field and not Ryan Kalish, the best guess is just a day of rest for the youngster. He had started 10 of the last 12 games and finished one of those he did not, and you have to remember that he is playing beyond the number of games he is accustomed to.
We will see what Terry Francona has to say on the situation, but that may be all it is. And without Scutaro and Kalish there are not many good leadoff options. Patterson is one of the fastest players on the team so maybe he ignites something against Edwin Jackson, who will face eight left-handed batters in the Boston lineup.
On a side note, there is plenty to watch out for on the scoreboard tonight, for multiple reasons. Obviously the events in Toronto (CC Sabathia vs. Kyle Drabek) and Tampa Bay (Brad Bergesen vs. David Price) take precedent, but it’s not just wins and losses that have some significance. Sabathia and Price are squarely in the Cy Young mix along with Boston’s Jon Lester. Also going Tuesday night is Felix Hernandez, perhaps the favorite. Clay Buchholz, who may garner some votes but is likely on the outside looking in, did his thing Monday.
So you have three of the four elite arms vying for postseason honors all pitching on the same night, with two of them having a direct impact on how long the Red Sox’ postseason chances remain alive. Should be an interesting evening in the American League.
4:40 p.m.: The Red Sox have not waved the white flag just yet but they are throwing out a pretty funky lineup for Tuesday’s meeting with Chicago. Take a look:
Eric Patterson, CF
J.D. Drew, RF
Victor Martinez, 1B
David Ortiz, DH
Adrian Beltre, 3B
Jed Lowrie, SS
Josh Reddick, LF
Jason Varitek, C
Felipe Lopez, 2B
8 a.m.: Still mathematically alive in a bid for a playoff spot the Red Sox continue a four-game series with the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday night.
Coupled with losses by both the New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays, the Sox’ 6-1 win in Monday’s series opener pulled them back to within 5 1/2 games with six to play.
The unlikely bid for a spot in the postseason falls on the shoulders of John Lackey. He is coming off a win at home against Baltimore in which he gave up just one run in seven innings.
Edwin Jackson goes for Chicago. First pitch is 8:10 p.m.