One day short of the 10-year anniversary of the infamous Bartman game in Chicago, I was reminded of just how cruel baseball can be. And just like the Cubs inexplicable loss of Game 6 of the 2003 NLCS, the blame shouldn’t fall on one person for the Tigers’ crushing loss last night in Boston. Oh there’s plenty of blame to go around.
- Blame Jose Veras for giving up the double to Will Middlebrooks to start the horrific chain of events in the 8th.
- Blame Drew Smyly for not throwing strikes. A middle reliever’s only job is to throw strikes when you’re up 4 runs. Just do it and live with the consequences. Don’t do Jacoby Ellsbury any favors by walking him.
- Blame Jim Leyland for not intentionally walking David Ortiz. Big Papi is the one guy in Boston’s lineup who has lived up to these moments consistently throughout his career — and guess what — he did it again. Even after walking in a run, they would’ve still be up three runs with two outs in the 8th. Let anyone else beat you.
- Blame Joaquin Benoit for throwing that meatball to Ortiz right down the center of the plate. I’m sure that pitch will live in a lot of baseball fans’ minds, for better of worse, for a long time.
- Blame Austin Jackson for being so pathetic at the plate. His three-pitch strikeout in the 9th was his 16th of the postseason. Guh!
- Blame Torii Hunter for being so pathetic at the plate. His 9th-inning ending pop out dropped his postseason average to .138. Granted, it’s hard to be mad at a guy who’s clearly giving his all out there as evidenced by the GIF above, but the top of the order simply has to get better.
- Blame Jose Iglesias for trying to do too much and committing a needless error that moved the winning run to second with no outs.
- Blame Prince Fielder for not one, but two defensive botches in the 9th. All he has to do is get in front of Iglesias’ errant throw and there would have been no error and Gomes doesn’t advance to second. Prince followed that up by missing a pop foul near the stands that could have stemmed the tide. Instead, he helped open the floodgates.
- Blame Rick Porcello for not getting a single out in the ninth. His ridiculous wild pitch that got Gomes to third was bad enough, but not being able to get a single out in the ninth is inexcusable. Do your job.
- Blame that asshole cop in the bullpen for cheering the Ortiz home run and being really annoying.
I realize this list isn’t entirely fair to everyone and there are many positives to take out of the first two games in Boston, but I needed some catharsis after that brutal ending. Fortunately, there’s still plenty of series left to recover from this debacle.