It's a source of pride for me during the baseball season: I try to make it up, every night, until all games have concluded. I'll have the MLB Network going with the live look-ins, and I recently purchased the MLB app on the iPad that gives you all the radio broacasts. On the average night, action will conclude between 1 a.m. and 1:30.
Last night, however, we had something a little different: An East Coast game, Angels-Red Sox, offering first a rain delay and then extra innings. When the Angels finally wrapped it up, it was 2:38 a.m. Good Lord.
It was, fittingly, a wacky affair. As you can see in the linked game story, Mike Cameron ran into an out (at third base) in the ninth inning because he didn't realize that an errant throw by Angels catcher Hank Conger actually hit third-base ump John Hirschbeck, a break for the Angels as that slowed down the ball. But then the Red Sox still tied the game with two outs in the ninth, as Jacoby Ellsbury - down to his last strike - singled home Carl Crawford from second base.
In the bottom of the 12th, Kevin Youkilis crushed what looked off the bat like a walkoff homer, only to see it hit the top of the Green Monster - and then the Angels threw out Marco Scutaro trying to score from first base.
And the Angels prevailed when Boston felt compelled to give Daisuke Matsuzaka his first career relief appearance, which lasted just one inning. It reminded me, unfairly, of when Jerry Manuel turned to Oliver Perez for the last game of the Mets' 2010 season; after all, Matsuzaka is still a part of the Red Sox's starting rotation, while Perez had essentially served as a piece of unused furniture for months.
You want to point to a game like last night's and try to draw long-term conclusions, just because it was so memorable. Will the Red Sox (14-16), who could've pulled even at .500, fall into another slump? Will the Angels (17-14), who maintained a share of the American League West penthouse with the victory, use this as a launching point?
Eh. Tossing aside even the stat-geek component of my personality, no small thing, it didn't feel like that to me. It felt like the Red Sox were relentless, caught some bad breaks, ran into a few outs, and found themselves in a tough spot with Matsuzaka.
It felt like the Angels blew a lead, hung in there and won, but they are what they are: A mediocre club.
Quick turnaround up in Fenway Park this afternoon, with John Lackey going against Joel Pineiro. We'll see how both teams deal with the fatigue. But my early call is that, while this game won't be forgotten, neither will it be regarded as a huge moment in the (sometimes true, sometimes not so much) narratives we like to construct for clubs.