I'm giving up on big leads. Seems to be a common trend for Boston sports teams lately.
First the Patriots give up a 21-point lead to the Buffalo Bills on Sunday, losing to them for the first time in eight years.
But nothing, absolutely nothing, tops the meltdown by the Boston Red Sox.
Up nine games in the American League wild-card race in early September, the Sox failed miserably in the most important part of their season, losing 20 of their last 27 games. Easily, the worst collapse for a team in September in MLB history.
Up 3-2 against the Orioles in the seventh inning and with the Rays down 0-7 in the eighth, it looked like the Red Sox had somehow held on and could positively go into the playoffs forgetting about their awful September.
Then heartbreak hit the Sox and all of their fans. The "reliable" Jonathan Papelbon struck out two, and gave up back-to-back doubles and a walk-off single that $142 million Carl Crawford failed to catch. Sox choke, 4-3, all hoping for a Rays loss.
What felt like seconds later, the Sox were in their clubhouse when Evan Longoria hit the walk-off home run to give Tampa Bay an 8-7, 12th-inning victory over the Yankees.
For the second consecutive season, the Red Sox have not made the postseason.
Who's to blame?
The guys with the red socks. No one else.
In the month of September, the Red Sox pitching all around was the worst it had been all season. The starting pitchers had a combined 7.08 ERA. John Lackey led the way giving up five or more runs in three of his five starts. Jon Lester and Josh Beckett combined for a 2-9 record, and the bullpen was just as bad. Setup man Daniel Bard had a 10.64 ERA and Papelbon had three blown saves.
But perhaps the worst stat of the Red Sox' unforgettable September? Their .259 winning percentage, their worst since 1964. The team failed to protect their nine-game lead over the Tampa Bay Rays in the wild-card race.
Now as the Red Sox head into the offseason, while the Rays took their postseason spot, the Red Sox have a lot of questions heading into next season.