One last gaffe for the Sox

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One last gaffe for the Sox

By Rich Levine
CSNNE.com

I had a weird feeling Sunday night watching the Sox blow their latest, and last, significant game of the 2010 season.

Then again, it was pretty weird that I had feeling at all.

Like you, or at least a lot of "yous", I'd given up on the Sox a couple weeks ago. More specifically, it was right after the sweep by the White Sox (at Fenway), and before the four losses in five games to the Jays and Orioles (at Fenway), when the emotional switch officially went off.

It's not that I stopped watching entirely. I'd check in when I was home, read about it and watch highlights when I didn't, but it became harder to justify dedicating five nights a week to living and dying with a team that was already dead. I still wanted them to win. I just didn't let the losses affect me. That's what happens after you're burned so many times by the same team. You move on. You turn the page. You stop believing.

And on Sunday night, I stopped watching. Actually, I never even started. As I sat down on the couch after dinner, I put on the DolphinsJets game and was immediately sucked in; hit with anxiety over how much better and stronger both team looked compared to New England, and terror over the thought of the Pats walking into that stadium next Monday night. Throw in the fact that it was a pretty entertaining football game between the Pats' two fiercest rivals, and I'll admit it I forgot the Sox were on.

Maybe that makes me fair-weather. If so, I don't know, you're better than me. But is there really any debate as to which game was most important for the average Boston sports fan? Is there any doubt as to which one mattered more? OK, maybe I'm just trying to make myself feel better, but bottom line is that I couldn't ignore the Sox forever.

Sometime around 11:30, I caught a tweet about the top of the ninth inning. I saw that Rivera was in, that the Sox were only down one and I decided to go back.

I'm so happy that I did.

And that's what's so strange.

Sunday night, I watched the Red Sox make a dramatic comeback and then suffer a beyond frustrating loss to the Yankees, at Yankee Stadium, on national TV, in late September, and I'm happy that I did.

How ridiculous is that? How does that make any sense?

This is the type of game the Sox would blow a couple times a year back before 2004. It was the kind of game that would leave me depressed for at least 24 hours. But last night it was OK? Where the hell am I?

I'm not sure what I thought would have happened if the Sox actually did win that game. Did I think they'd go one some mystical run through the final week of the season? Did I think that game really mattered?

No. But from the moment Ryan Kalish got on base, Mo got rattled, New York got antsy and the Sox started running on the Yankees like they were the Sox, I was instantly transformed back to a time and place where it all really did matter.

For that one inning, I was able to ignore all the harsh realities that ruined this year's pennant race in Boston and really care about the Red Sox. I never thought that would happen again this season.

In the end, the game served as a nice piece of closure on the 2010 campaign. One final reminder of why we stopped believing in the first place. But we knew all that already. Sunday night's game changed nothing about how we perceive or will remember the 2010 Red Sox. That legacy was already set in stone. But for a good half hour, we got to pretend that that wasn't the case; that it still meant so much.

And for that I'm thankful.

(And that still feels so weird.)

Rich Levine's column runs each Monday, Wednesday and Friday on CSNNE.com. Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrlevine33

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Angels score three after overturned call, beat Red Sox, 4-2

Angels score three after overturned call, beat Red Sox, 4-2

BOSTON -- The Los Angeles Angels benefited from a fairly-new rule and relied on an old-fashioned type save to beat the Boston Red Sox.

Parker Bridwell pitched a solid 6 2/3 innings and Los Angeles scored three runs after its challenge overturned an inning-ending double play in the second, leading the Angels to a 4-2 win over the Red Sox on Sunday.

Bridwell (2-0) gave up two runs and seven hits, striking out four without issuing a walk.

Yusmeiro Petit pitched two scoreless innings for his first save.

"I don't care if it's old-fashioned or it's cutting edge, we need them," Angels manager Mike Scioscia. "We need guys to hold leads. Most closers are primarily the one-inning guys that are in that bubble."

Ben Revere had three singles and Kaleb Cowart drove in two runs for Los Angeles, which won two of three against the Red Sox for its fifth series win in the last six.

Doug Fister (0-1) lost his Red Sox debut, giving up three runs and seven hits in six-plus innings. He was signed by Boston on Friday after being released by the Angels.

Mitch Moreland and Jackie Bradley Jr. each hit a solo homer for the Red Sox, who lost their second straight at Fenway Park after winning 10 of the previous 12. Boston remained tied with New York atop the AL East.

Bridwell was Fister's teammate at Triple-A Salt Lake before he was let go.

"That's weird," Bridwell said. "I was in the same clubhouse with him a week-and-a-half ago or whatever and we were talking pitching. I was asking him certain things he did along the game, and the next thing you know we're starting against each other on the big-league level."

After the challenge overturned Danny Espinosa's 3-6-3 double play, Los Angeles got to Fister.

"That's modern-day baseball," Scioscia said.

Fister was pleased by his first start with Boston, and 200th of his career.

"Overall, it wasn't a bad day," he said. "They just put together some timely hits and took advantage of well-placed baseballs. That's what good clubs do and that's what they did today."

Espinosa was credited with a fielder's choice and RBI after the review. Cowart followed with an RBI double and Juan Gratetrol had a run-scoring single.

"He's a bang-bang play from a scoreless outing," Red Sox manager John Farrell said.

Moreland homered over the Angels' bullpen in the bottom half. Bradley Jr. hit his into the center-field bleachers in the fifth.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Angels: Scioscia said LHP Tyler Skaggs was scratched from a scheduled rehab start in the Arizona League on Saturday night with soreness in his oblique and abdominal area.

Red Sox: Farrell said ace lefty David Price has a middle finger-nail issue on his pitching hand, but "is expected" to make his next scheduled start. ... LHP Eduardo Rodriguez, on the 10-day DL with a right knee subluxation, will make a rehab start for Double-A Portland on Thursday after he felt fine following a 68-pitch bullpen session on Saturday.

ROSTER MOVE

The Angels recalled infielder Cowart from Triple-A Salt Lake before the game and optioned RHP Eduardo Paredes there before the game.

INSPIRATIONAL MESSAGE

The Red Sox put a message on the center-field board, wishing NESN analyst Jerry Remy: "Best of Luck, Jerry, on your surgery tomorrow!"

The crowd gave him a huge ovation when he was shown on the scoreboard. The popular former Red Sox second baseman (1978-84) waved.

He is being treated for cancer for the fifth time.

NICE PERFORMANCE

Nine-year-old Shea Braceland from Westfield, Mass., got a long and loud ovation when she completed a flawless rendition of the national anthem.

UP NEXT

Angels: Ricky Nolasco (2-9, 5.23 ERA) is set to face Dodgers LHP Rich Hill (4-3, 4.73) when the teams open a two-game series at Dodger Stadium on Monday. Nolasco has lost his last seven decisions.

Red Sox: LHP Chris Sale (9-3, 2.85) is in line to work against Minnesota RHP Jose Berrios (7-1, 2.67) when the teams open a four-game series in Fenway Monday. Sale leads the majors with 146 strikeouts.