Sunday, August 15, 2010

Losing in Every Possible Way

There are a lot of ways to lose baseball games. And after the Red Sox had Daisuke Matsuzaka throw a pretty decent game on Sunday and lost with a Manny Delcarmen meltdown, I realized that they have really lost spectacularly in every possible way this year. Usually such a criticism is reserved to a team that is especially awful. But this is a Red Sox team that the optimists are still considering a playoff contender. It's been reasonably impressive to take a step backwards not only on the Texas series, but on the whole season and take a look at all the ways the team has found a way to lose.

-Bullpen turning a close game into a blowout (Sunday).
-Starters blowing a big lead (Friday).
-Bullpen blowing a big lead (Ramram!).
-Offense not showing up (much of the injury era, Tampa games).
-Fielders imploding systematically (much of April and May - passed balls?).
-Walkoffs (Friday again).
-Battling back from a large deficit and falling short (one Detroit game).
-Battling back from a deficit to tie the game and then lose subsequently (at least one Yankee game).
-Battling back from a large decicit, taking the lead, and blowing said lead (pretty sure this happened).
-Baserunning blunders leading to losses (another April/May malady).
-Middle reliver failure in a tie game (no specific examples).
-Closer failure in a save situation. (Most notably Thursday and at least one NY game).
-Setup man failure in a save situation (several occasions).
-Starters getting shellacked from the get-go (Wakefield - we'll get to you later in Pat's sore rib rehab).
-Starters walking their ways to losses (Wakefield, Matsuzaka).
-Starters pitching five innings and imploding in the sixth (Matsuzaka vs. Garza).

I'm pretty serious. This Red Sox team has lost fifty-two games, and it seems like, while some of their wins have been uneventful, each of their losses is spectacular in one way or another. I'm running the risk of sounding like Tim Kurkjian right here, but each Red Sox loss has been like a snowflake: Each is different. It's been interesting this year to see not whether they're going to lose, but HOW they're going to lose.

And once again, what's the most interesting part about it is the fact that this is not a god-awful baseball team. It's a reasonably-skilled team, and a reasonably-enjoyable team that has, to their credit, overcome quite a bit. I guess if they just lie down like the 2006 team, their losses would not have been so spectacular.

They have not yet gotten no-hit. However, there are forty-three games left. A lot of people are saying that the 2010 Red Sox are a "boring" team. I disagree. Both with their fight despite all the injuries and by the diversity of ways they have found to lose (and win) baseball games, it has NOT been a boring team. People just say "boring" because they don't want to say "So You Think You Can Dance is on instead.


TimC said...

I agree on "boring". This has been a team that has exceeded my expectations in terms of how interesting they are to watch. It is probably due to having a pretty good starter on the mound most of the time and the general inability for the team to consistently do anything else for two straight games.

More options for the remainder of the season:

-The Cerrano/bird method
-Lightning striking a home run ball
-A loss involving an opposinig batter swinging at an intentional walk pitch, leading to a two-run single

I could go on. But this season reminds me very much of how last year went for Liverpool FC, culminating in a game where a beach ball bounced in front of goal and deflected a shot into the net. Unreal. More to come.

the gm at work said...

Besides being no-hit, I feel like a game where they take a huge lead into the bottom of the fifth (in a road game, of course) only to have the skies open, have the game replayed, and losing would be necessary this year. That and losing on a balk, although they may have already done that this year.

the gm at work said...

Also, Pat will be writing his third August post tonight/tomorrow. I believe this is his version of coming to Toronto before the all-star break with his note cards before departing for another week next week.

Anonymous said...


One of the losses that you forgot is one of the most depressing kind: "Having a big lead, blowing it, falling behind, coming back to take the lead late, and the losing on a walk-off hit."

That situation happened in Cleveland when the Sox were up 5-0 (with Lester pitching, no less) fell behind 6-5, Beltre hit a two-run homer in the top of the 9th before Russell Branyan knocked in a two-out, two-run single in the bottom half off Danny Bard. Not good times. Bad times.

--the Gunn

TimC said...

Oh, we are also due to lose on a botched fielding of a bunt. Although Dice did make a very good looking play on Sunday- with the emphasis on pitching and defense, he fits right in.

Ellsbury might fit into more of a bitching and offense philosophy- I could see another loss where he has a chance to throw out the winning run at home but opts to grimace, drop the ball, and hold his ribs.

the gm at work said...

Tim C,

Okajima already botched fielding on a bunt, costing them the game. This game inspired the "Balls" post in July.

TimC said...

I was thinking more directly, as in a walkoff. What are people's thoughts on the Shaugnessy column on SI?