Cleveland Indians 13 Boston Red Sox 4
Every Red Sox fan seated in Fenway Park last night or those of us watching at home who are members of Red Sox Nation or Red Sox International knows that when Eric Gagne enters a baseball game in the late innings, disaster and utter mayhem follow. This proved to be the case Saturday evening, when in the 11th inning of a 6-6 game, he jogged to the mound. Terry Francona had already used Delcarmen, Timlin, Okajima and Papelbon, and was left with the dregs of the 'pen. Gagne promptly recorded the first out, but then put 2 men on with a single and an unneeded, unnecessary and idiotic walk. Tito was quick to yank him, maybe for the last time ever in a Sox uniform (we can only hope), but the seeds of ultimate destruction were already planted and taking root. Javy Lopez, who was no better, relieved Gagne and allowed a single to Trot Nixon, which scored the winning run. But he wasn't finished. He contributed a run scoring wild pitch, a walk and a single to Ryan Garko. It was 9-6, and the game was over. But Jon Lester, the LAST pitcher in the bullpen, also had something to say. He gave up a double and a 3 run homer, making the final score 13-6. Said Tito about the prospect of having to use Gagne in close situations (never!!).......
"The Red Sox could hide Eric Gagne only so long.
Before the game, Francona acknowledged that using Gagne in the postseason was not a simple proposition. In Game 1 Friday night, pitching with a 10-3 lead in the ninth, Gagne loaded the bases before getting the last out.
"It's a very difficult fine line right now," Francona said before Saturday's game. "We're in the postseason and it is a little tough. The one saving grace for me is the way he handles it. He's trying his behind off."
Tito, that ain't good enough! Curt Schilling did not look good, using a fastball that didn't top 88 MPH. Maybe he IS finished as a member of the Sox after this season. He gave up 5 runs in his 4 2/3 innings and proved that his great outing against the depleted Angels was mostly because they were forced to use a patchwork lineup. But the Sox proved resilient, and went ahead 6-5, only to have Delcarmen give up the tying run. And then what followed, as described above, we are all too familiar with. So I'll have to say something I haven't had to say this entire postseason....it's time to turn the page. Consider it turned, and the day off today will help calm the soul and soothe the mind.
Jake Westbrook, who should be shaky at best, will oppose Daisuke Matsuzaka Monday evening in the city that houses the Rock 'N Roll Hall of Fame, Cleveland, Ohio. I expect great things from him. He has something to prove. To ALL of us.
Click on the title of this post for the Globe's Jackie MacMullen's look back at Gagne and his inadequacies. She starts her piece with one word..."OUCH." My sentiments exactly. Hey, chins up, faith intact, my Constant Readers...there's a long way to go.