Once after giving up a game-winning pinch-hit in the 9th inning, former Kansas City Royals closer Dan Quisenberry was asked by a sportswriter if that was the worst possible way to lose a game.
Quisenberry came up with about 20 unusual things to top it including, “If outfielder Amos Otis was settling under the last out and an earthquake caused him to miss it, now that would’ve been worse.”
So yes, things could be worse for the Pawtucket Red Sox right now – but you have to be creative to imagine how.
On Thursday night, the PawSox 9-game losing streak was just about over. After scoring two runs in the 7th inning and another in the 8th, Pawtucket sent Marcus McBeth to the mound in the 9th inning with a 3-1 lead.
Now here’s what you need to know about McBeth. He’s been phenomenal this year, and had just pitched a perfect 8th inning with a pair of strikeouts. When Fernando “No B.S.” Cabrera (that stands for “No Blown Saves” . . . 20-for-20 in save opportunities) was promoted to Boston; there was no reason for panic because McBeth has been nearly as dominant.
Not this time. Marcus walked the leadoff hitter in the 9th. Then he walked the second guy. Then he allowed a double that made it 3-2. Then he allowed a single that tied the game.
By the time the inning was over, Rochester had a 5-3 win, extending the PawSox losing streak to 10 games.
It was the low point of the season, but not the worst part of my day.
On my ride home to Boston, I hit construction almost immediately that reduced Route 95-North to one lane. The previous night, that stretched my 48-minute commute to about an hour and 20 minutes.
Not this time I decided, so I pulled out my trusty GPS and hit the button for “detour.” I was instructed to pull off at the next exit and began taking a series of lefts and rights until I found myself directly in front of Gillette Stadium after a Patriots preseason game.
It took me 2 ½ hours to get home.
And I kind of wished I was Amos Otis when the earthquake hit.
* * * * *
The PawSox have equaled the second-longest losing streak in team history at 10 games. The club record is a 13-game losing streak in 1985.
They’ll have All-Star Tim Wakefield on the mound on Friday night to try to end the streak and he’ll be allowed to throw approximately 80 pitches.
(photos courtesy of Kelly O’Connor)
After extensive tests, the Red Sox medical staff has determined that Wakefield is not endangering his injured calf if he waits until after the season to have a disc fragment removed that’s causing the pain.
It will mark the third day in a row that a knuckleballer will take the mound at McCoy Stadium (Charlie Zink on Wednesday, R.A. Dickey on Thursday). That’s pretty incredible considering there are only 5 guys currently throwing the pitch in pro baseball. The others are Charlie Haeger of the LA Dodgers and Josh Banks (who only throws it occasionally) of the San Diego Padres.
In 1945 when major league rosters were depleted due to World War II, the Washington Senators had a 4-man rotation made up entirely of knuckleball pitchers including the immortal Mickey “Itsy Bitsy” Haefner. They finished 2nd in the American League.
* * * * *
I was sorry to see to the Red Sox release Chris Duncan after Thursday’s game. Unfortunately, he was never able to get on a roll after coming over from the Cardinals in a trade for Julio Lugo.
Duncan batted .188 with 2 HR and 10 RBI in his time with the PawSox.
In case you’ve haven’t been following it, Lugo is hitting .319 in his first 22 games with the Cardinals.
And the Red Sox will pay most of his $9 million dollar salary next year.
* * * * *
I hope you’ll join us for the radio call on Friday as the PawSox try to end the losing streak. Our coverage begins at 6:50 on the PawSox radio network and PawSox.com.