This is the first really stinging loss of the season, IMO - a chance to sweep a good team on the road squandered due to, for the most part, bad luck.
I feel for Papelbon. Take a look at how it went down:
- A check-swing with 2 strikes that only resulted in an infield hit because it rolled so slowly
- An indecisive butcher-job by Lugo letting there be runners on 1st & 2nd with 0 out. It's easy to be angry with Lugo, although this was also a bit of bad luck - everyone watching the game was thinking 'lead runner,' but once again the ball was rolling slowly which really screwed things up.
- A successful bunt
- A simple 4-3 ground-out, which resulted in a run due to the aforementioned bad luck -> Tie game
- A little broken bat flair into very shallow left -> Loss
The only real questionable managerial decision I think was whether or not to intentionally walk Granderson w/ runners on 2nd and 3rd with 1 out, but I still think they made the right call by pitching to him. Granderson was struggling (he continued to struggle with a weak groundout that just so happened to drive in the tying run) and you never want to create a situation where you can walk in the tying run or winning run.
This doesn't suck as much as it would have in the pre-World Championship days, but it still stinks. Gotta have some of these days though - it's all part of the journey of baseball season.
On to the next phase of the road trip.
EDIT: Also: That game was Four. Hours. Long. Eff that.