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Greetings from Gate A-14

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff  September 21, 2012 06:47 AM

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TAMPA, Fla. Good morning from the Ricky Bell International Airport and Waffle House here in Tampa. We're waiting for a flight home.

Woke up this morning to this actual message from a Red Sox fan: "I mean, (Bad word), (bad word). Are you (bad word) (bad word) me?"

That about sums it up. It doesn't really matter how many victories the Sox end up with at this point. But that loss was pretty painful last night.

Poor Jose Iglesias, the kid goes 3-for-4 with his first home run and can't really enjoy it. He really crushed that pitch, too.

Two things that stuck out otherwise for me last night:

After Pedro Ciriaco butchered a fly ball in the third inning, Clay Buchholz stayed on the field after the inning ended and gave him a little pat on the back when they entered the dugout.

It's not a big deal. But it speaks to the kind of teammate and professional Buchholz is. Not every pitcher in the game would do that. Plenty would have given Ciriaco a dirty look.

The Nationals clinched a playoff berth last night. This is the same franchise that was 69-93 in 2010. The Orioles and Athletics are headed that way, too.

So as fractured and inept as the Red Sox look now, it can change quickly. Buchholz showed he's the kind of pitcher you can build a rotation around. You also got a sense of what Iglesias and Ryan Lavarnway can do.

The pieces are there. The Sox need some significant changes in their approach and that starts with getting more people in place who are committed to winning and not their own petty agendas. But it's not like this will need years to fix.

Time to head home. If you're at Fenway this weekend, please say hello.

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