The Red Sox clinched a playoff spot last night… so I should be celebrating, right?
Maybe that is a bad way to phrase it.
The Rangers were eliminated by the Angels.
That’s more like it.
The Red Sox didn’t win ANYTHING last night.
They haven’t won a game in nearly a week.
I know that in the end it doesn’t matter. They did what I wanted them to do.
They have a playoff spot with nearly a week to go. They can line up their rotation anyway they want. They can have their bullpen rested and ready and give anyone in their lineup a day to catch their breath.
But it’s hard to fist pump in the middle of a 5 game losing streak.
It’s hard to say “Woo Hoo!” when the team seems to be going through the motions.
I wanted a clinching game. Was that too much to ask for?
Well, I am going to call this the last teeth grinder of the year… because the rest of the games of the regular season are literally meaningless.
The Sox are the Wild Card team.
The Yankees are the top seed in the AL but they can’t play each other in the Division Series.
The Angels will have the second best record, ergo play the Red Sox for the 83rd year in a row.
If the Sox win all of their games or lose all of their games, nothing will change that scenario.
The only games that matter are the Twins and Tigers games… and figuring out which one has a better shot against the Yankees.
So here we go… the final Dodged Bullet/Teeth Grinder tally.
DODGED A BULLET GAMES – 26
April 17 – 10-8 win against Orioles. (Overcame 7-0 deficit.)
– 5-4 win against Yankees. (Bay homers off of Rivera in 9th to tie it.)
– 16-11 win against Yankees. (Overcame 6-0 deficit.)
– 6-5 win at Cleveland. (Overcame 5-0 deficit.)
– 4-3 win at Anaheim. (Down 3-1 in the 8th.)June 11
– 4-3 win against Yankees. (Down 3-1 in the 8th. Rallied against Sabathia.)
– 5-2 win at Philadelphia. (Overcame Ryan Howard’s 9th inning shot to win in 13)
– 6-5 win against Atlanta. (The wind turns Nick Green’s fly ball into a walk off shot)
– 1-0 win at Atlanta. (Masterson and Papelbon wiggle out of late jams.)July 1
– 6-5 win at Baltimore. (Sox score 4 in the 9th and Lugo wins in in the 11th)
– 5-4 win against Oakland. (Wind keeps Hairston’s 9th inning go ahead homer in the ballpark)
– 1-0 win against Kansas City. (Pedroia drives in the only run with 2 outs in the 8th.)
– 8-5 win against Oakland. (Ortiz tests postive then hits a 2 out 3 run go ahead homer.)
– 6-5 win at Baltimore. (Youk’s 2 run homer saves Smoltz from another bad start.)
– 6-5 win against Detroit. (Sox snap 6 game losing streak with 7th inning rally.)
– 8-4 win at Texas. (Victor Martinez hits a 2 run 2 strike 2 out double to take the lead and make up for Buchholz’s baserunning mishap.)
– 10-9 win at Toronto. (Ortiz homers and the Jays defense collapses, saving Beckett from a bad start.)August 24
– 12-8 win against White Sox. (Red Sox overcome early 4-1 lead and a bad Buchholz start.)
– 6-3 win against White Sox. (Red Sox win with 4 unanswered runs despite some sloppy defense.)
– 3-2 win against White Sox. (Wakes pitches 7 strong and Papi homers twice including a walk off)
– 6-5 win against Toronto. (Sox come back from early 3-0 hole and Paps wiggles out of a bases loaded jam in the 9th.)
– 3-2 win against Toronto. (Buchholz dominates but needs help from Paps to finish the 9th)
– 8-4 win at Tampa Bay. (Papelbon enters the game with the bases loaded, nobody out and go ahead run at the plate… and gets a 2 innings save.)
– 7-5 win against Baltimore. (Martinez’s double gives the Sox the lead and Papelbon wiggles out of two jams.)
– 3-1 win against Tampa Bay. (Pedroia’s 8th inning homer off of Matt Garza breaks a 1-1 tie)
– 9-8 win against the Angels. (Red Sox make three comebacks including a rally with 2 outs and nobody on in the 9th.)
TEETH GRINDER GAMES – 28
– 6-5 loss at Oakland. (Sox blow early 3-0 lead. Lose in 12)
– 9-8 loss at Cleveland. (Sox blow early 5-1 lead. Lopez drops 3rd out.)May 14
– 5-4 loss at Anaheim. (Ortiz goes 0-7 stranding 12 runners.)May 15
– 5-4 loss at Seattle. (Red Sox blow their second 4-0 lead in three days.)
– 3-2 loss at Seattle. (Red Sox strand two in the 9th. Lose in the bottom of the 9th.)
– 3-2 loss to the Mets. (Papelbon lets up a 2 out 2 run homer in the 9th to Omir Santos)
– 2-1 loss to the Marlins. (Rain washes out a tight game after 5+ innings.)
– 2-1 loss to the Braves. (Tying run on base in the 9th. Solid Penny outing wasted)June 30
– 11-10 loss at Baltimore. (The Red Sox blow a late 10-1 to the lowly Orioles.)July 3
– 7-6 loss to Seattle. (Red Sox comeback in the 8th only to lose in the 11th.)
– 3-2 loss to Seattle. (Saito walks three in the 9th as the Mariners rally to win)
– 8-6 loss to the Royals. (Bullpen blows early 4-0 lead.)
– 4-2 loss at Texas. (Beckett loses a complete game and the Yankees take over first.)
– 3-1 loss at Texas. (Sox are swept for the first time all season.)
– 9-8 loss to Oakland. (Sox blow 3 run lead in 9th. A’s rally with 2 outs in 9th and 11th.)
– 8-6 loss to Oakland. (Down 5-0 in the first, Sox comeback falls short)
– 4-2 loss in Tampa Bay. (Longoria hits 13th inning walk off with first base open.)
– 6-4 loss in Tampa Bay. (Sox gets swept in a 2 game series with the tying run at the plate).
– 2-0 loss in New York. (A-Rod’s walk off with 2 outs in the 15 ends a teeth grinding marathon.)
– 5-2 loss in New York. (4 outs from avoiding a sweep, Bard lets up back to back homers to Damon and Teixeira.)
– 2-0 loss to Detroit. (Verlander wiggles out of early and late jams.)
– 4-3 loss at Texas. (Red Sox can’t rally and fall behind the Rangers in the Wild Card race)
– 8-5 loss at Tampa Bay. (The Red Sox recover from a bad Beckett outing to tie the game in the 8th, only to give back the lead the next inning.)September 17
– 4-3 loss to Angels. (Tek allows tying run to score on a wild third strike. Sox lose in the ninth.)
– 12-9 loss in Kansas City. (Sox blow an 8-2 lead in the rain.)
– 3-0 loss in New York. (Sox waste terrific 7 inning performance by Dice-K)
– 4-2 loss in New York. (Yankees rally to clinch division and Sox fail to win the season series.)
– 8-7 loss to Blue Jays. (Youk strikes out with the winning runs on base, spoiling the chance of an on field celebration.)
So it finishes up at -2.
Which means of the 91 regular season wins, 26 of them were games they pulled out of the fire and 65 of them were not exactly suspenseful.
And of the 66 losses, 28 were games they should have won and 38 of them were no brainers.
I wonder if other teams have a similar ratio.
Something to ponder in 2010.
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