Our 25-hour national nightmare is over.
The Red Sox began Monday limping home in the wee hours of the morning from a 9-6 loss to the Yankees at Fenway Park.
Ryan Dempster had shoved the Red Sox into a season-ending and seemingly irreversible tailspin after hitting Alex Rodriguez in the second inning Sunday, a crime considered by some the baseball equivalent of a drive-by shooting, and then getting slapped around by A-Roid and his Yankees teammates.
The season was coming apart, and, to make it even worse, the team got to sleep in on Monday before jetting across the country during the day before playing the Giants at night. Those pampered ballplayers.
Signs of 2011 began to pop up on the interwebs and on talk radio.
The doom and gloom was mainly a result of Dempster's performance Sunday. His only "war crime" Sunday was serving up a meatball to Rodriguez in the sixth which he turned into a chemical weapon of Mass. destruction into the center field stands, Plunking A-Rod may have been ill-timed, since it came to leadoff the second, but it was necessary even if Dempster's reasons were somewhat personal. And Rodriguez's beefy torso was about the only target Dempster found Sunday night, and it took him four tries to do that.
After Sunday's loss New England hadn't seen such distress and angst since Tom Brady hurt his knee in practice last week.
Time to brace for another crisis.
But then things began to turn around with the news early in the day that Xander Bogaerts was finally being called up to the major leagues. "X" marked the spot for the Red Sox. "X" is also the Greek symbol for Christ, our Savior indeed, which is appropriate considering the hype surrounding Bogaerts.
Bogaerts didn't play Monday night, but the Red Sox managed to win 7-0 behind an 8.1 inning, six-hit, zero run performance from Jon Lester, who found plenty of heart in San Francisco. Lester had the keys to Alcatraz when it came to the Giants trying to break out of their last-place malaise. He mixed speeds well all night and spotted his pitches perfectly, only walking two and getting his work done for the night using just 115 pitches, 77 of which were strikes.
Lester's performance gave the bullpen a needed break, which was necessary after this past weekend's series against New York.
The slide was slopped.
There were no baseball Kaiju that emerged from the bay by the city to destroy the Red Sox in their weakened, post-plunking-Alex-Rodriguez state.
The Red Sox even preserved their one-game lead over the Tampa Bay Rays with the win.
Just another game in August.
No more or less important than the one the Red Sox played the night before.
Except that no one bothered to plunk A-Rod and send everyone into a blind panic.
There are 35 games left in the season.
They all count the same.
Even those without hype, hysteria or emotional apoplexy.
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