One last gaffe for the Sox

197883.jpg

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

Quotes, notes and stars: Pedroia was focused on winning, not streak

Quotes, notes and stars: Pedroia was focused on winning, not streak

BOSTON -- Quotes, notes and stars from the Red Sox’ 8-3 win over the Royals:

QUOTES

“I hadn’t really thought about it. Trying to win games. It’s late in the year . . . I don’t really have time to sit back and pat myself on the back for anything. We’re trying to win as a team.” - Dustin Pedroia on the importance of the 11-for-11 stretch in his career.

“It’s fun. It’s why you go to work in December, January, February. It’s all the work you put in up to this point. It feels good to go out there and get the results you expect to get, especially against a team like [the Royals] who is hot as they are right now.” - David Price on pitching meaningful games with a playoff-like atmosphere.

“Yeah, yeah we [knew about the streak] . . .  It was an awesome roll and it was fun to see . . . Every time I went up to hit, I let Salvador Perez know.” - Xander Bogaerts on Dustin Pedroia’s 11-for-11 streak.

“I think we’ve been able to handle velocity very well. We’ve got good bat-speed in out lineup, and we’re able to handle that.” - John Farrell on the offense thriving against good pitching.

 

NOTES

* David Ortiz played in his 1,000th game at Fenway Park, becoming the fifth player to do so.

* Ortiz also became the first player ever to play 2,000 games as the designated hitter.

* Mookie Betts scored his 100th run of the season off his 29th home run of the year, joining Fred Lynn, Johnny Pesky and Ted Williams as the only players to reach 100 runs before turning 24.

* The Red Sox hit back-to-back home runs for the fourth time this season with Betts and Hanley Ramirez going yard in the fifth.

* With his 2-for-4 day at the plate, Jackie Bradley Jr. improved to 34-for-94 (.362) batting ninth.

 

STARS

1) Dustin Pedroia

Pedroia finished 4-for-5, extending his streak to 11 hits in 11 at-bats, finishing one shy of tying the MLB record.

2) David Price

Price logged his fourth straight quality start with his six-inning, two-run start. He also dropped his ERA below 4.00 for the first time since his Opening Day start with Boston.

3) Salvador Perez

Perez finished 2-for-3 with two home runs. Saturday marked only the second multi-home run game of his career.

First impressions: Price, Pedroia lead Red Sox to 8-3 win over Royals

red_sox_david_price_082716.jpg

First impressions: Price, Pedroia lead Red Sox to 8-3 win over Royals

BOSTON -- First impressions from the Red Sox 8-3 win over the Kansas City Royals:

 

David Price has found a groove.

Price finally brought his ERA below 4.00.

He’d been about that mark since his second start of the season. Twenty-six starts later, he finally reached the mark.

Saturday’s start marked Price’s fourth-straight quality start. Price will soon eclipse the 200-strikeout, reaching 186 K’s with his seven-strikeout performance.

Although the lefty hasn’t been at his best throughout much of the year, he’s caught fire of late.

Possibly at the most important part of the season, too.

 

Dustin Pedroia just missed making history, can’t buy an out.

Boston’s second baseman entered Saturday with seven hits in his last seven at-bats. He stretched that streak to 11-for-11 with a 4-for-4 game.

He had the chance to go 12-for-12 in the eighth, but weakly grounded into a 4-6-3 double play.

He’s also the first Red Sox player with three straight four-hit games at Fenway Park since 1913.

Boston’s second baseman continues to prove that his struggles in recent years were directly related to injuries, not diminishing performance.

 

The offense passed a big test.

It might’ve appeared that Danny Duffy was a middle-of-the-road pitcher with the way Red Sox hitters tattooed him in Saturday’s win.

But the right only had one loss in 19 starts, with a 2.66 ERA (2.61 as a starter).

Between the long balls and Dustin Pedroia’s incessant ways of late, they ballooned his ERA to 3.01.

A respectable number, still, but a jump of nearly a half of a run.

 

Sandy Leon’s in a minor cold spell.

Possibly the greatest story of Boston’s 2016 offense, Leon hasn’t had too many struggles along the way.

But after finishing 0-for-4 Saturday night, he’s only 2-for-21 (.095) in his last five games.

Saturday also marked only the third time all season where he was held hitless in back-to-back games.

These things happen to everyone, but it was starting to look like Leon didn’t fall under the category of “everyone.”