Well, the results of today’s failures were both expected and unexpected. While the offense did it’s job against the Angels, the Red Sox were unable to pull out the victory and were eliminated from the playoffs in 3 games. The manner in which they were defeated was surprising, however. I thought the starting pitching did ok, with Bucholz just allowing 2 earned runs in his 5+ innings of work. However, the bullpen that had bolstered the Red Sox so often this season just flamed out. It’s perhaps ironic that Billy Wagner allowed the men to reach base that would ultimately get Anaheim back into the game. While it was Papelbon who blew the save, it all started in the 8th inning with Billy Wagner. I’d been scared since the beginning that this trade would not work out. For the most part it had up until today, when two closers combined to allow 5 earned runs in two innings of work. Papelbon looked bad today, and it cost us the postseason. While I expected this to happen, it still smarts.
Adding to the misery of Boston sports fans (at least for today), was the unfortunate and somewhat unexpected loss to the Denver Broncos, 20-17 in overtime. They played well in the first half, but looked lost in the second half. Once again, the offense was on-again-off-again. Brady and his receivers just aren’t clicking, and it’s making it harder and harder to sustain the kind of long, clock-eating drives that the Pats are notorious for. Right now, Welker is the only one Brady is hitting consistently, and even that isn’t as good as it used to be. I saw numerous passes today that were low or off-target, forcing Welker to settle for short-yardage gains when on-target balls would’ve resulted in long gains (and at least one touchdown).
Defensively, the Patriots strike me as lacking impact players. You know, players capable of making big plays in big moments. While they’re solid up front, especially with players like Vince Wilfork at tackle, their secondary looks weak. Jerrod Mayo is alright, but our cornerbacks are nothing to write home about. They strike me as competent at best. It says a lot about your team when the only player recording an interception is a wide receiver (Randy Moss).
Today was not a good day for Boston sports teams or their fans. Neither of our teams played well, and without the Celtics and just a mediocre Bruins team, we’re looking at a cold couple of months as we wait for our teams to come around. Baseball is over in Boston, and that saddens me. It’s the most intellectual of our four major sports, and the one-on-one head games between the pitcher and the batter fascinate me. So I’m most sad to see my favorite sport end for the year. Hopefully this will be an offseason of acquisition for the Red Sox. They need to bolster their starting rotation, solidify at shortstop, and re-sign Jason Bay. This team was just not quite good enough to go the distance this year. Hopefully next year’s will be.