The Best Team & Pitcher Were On Display, It Just Wasn’t The Red Sox

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Who do we blame?  Eduardo Nunez? Chris Sale? Mookie Betts?  James Hoye? We are New Englanders. We have felt the need to point the finger of blame at someone since the Pilgrims decided their first winter misfortunes were “all that damn Myles Standish’s fault.”

Nunez is a good candidate to be the goat.  As Bob Ryan said of the Red Sox a quarter of a century ago, “when in doubt, blame the Latino. “  Especially when the Latino should have knocked down a George Springer second inning bullet to keep a run from scoring and picked the worst time to perform his one-act play “How Rafael Devers plays defense” costing the Sox a key out in an inning the Astros would take the lead.

There was a fleeting moment, in the first inning when Mookie Betts took second base on a Justin Verlander wild pitch, while JD Martinez was in the box, that New England believed the Red Sox would knock Justin Verlander, baseball’s Tom Brady, out of the game early.  When Martinez walked the feeling remained. Then it all went wrong.

It started with Xander Bogaerts grounding into a double play.  Chris Sale got two out in the second and then either suddenly lost the plate or slipped a tab of Molly:  Walk, hit batsman, walk. Springer singled plating two runs, and it seemed the game was set on a predictable course of Verlander and the bullpen dominating the Sox and the Nation putting its hopes on David Price’s shaky shoulders.

The Sox turned to our their dependable heroes, the bullpen and the bottom of the order. After Steve Pierce worked a single Verlander either took a hit off Sale’s Molly or lost the plate on his own, leading to walks for Nunez, JBJ and a stationary Mitch Moreland.  Then Mookie, whose postseason performance has officially become a THING, swung at the first pitch, hitting into a fielder’s choice which ended the Sox offensive output except for an unlikely Verlander wild pitch leading to the tying run.

And then Joe Kelly nailed  Alex Bregman, the first batter of the next inning, which predictably came around to score.  If you give the Astros a chance, they are going to find a way. Perhaps Kelly deserved the goat horns (but why would New Englanders blame a white guy named Kelly then there is a perfectly good Latino who screwed the pooch too?)

Final Jeopardy Clue:  Andrew Bailey and Ryan Sweeny.  The question: Who did the Red Sox obtain in a trade for Josh Reddick in December 2011?

Salt in the wound always stings.



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