On Baseball Tonight this evening, analysts Aaron Boone and Steve Berthiaume gave the Boston Red Sox no hope. Boone has already pegged them dead in the water, saying, “it was a valiant effort.” Berthiaume went a bit further, believing the Red Sox had already hung up their spikes by giving guys like young outfielder Ryan Kalish a “good look for next year.”

First, regarding Boone, who had to love getting the chance to proclaim the Red Sox done considering he, a former New York Yankee, smashed the 2003 ALCS-clincher to send them home.

After tonight’s game against the Baltimore Orioles, Boston still has 30 games on their schedule and, though they entered play 7 1/2 games back in the Wild Card race, face the Yankees and Rays a few more times. Say “it was a valiant effort” when or if they are indeed eliminated from playoff contention.

Now to Berthiuame. Manager Terry Francona is not one to use September as a 2011 tryout when this many games remain. Boston has lost many of their best position players for the year, including outfielders Jacoby Elllsbury and Mike Cameron.

Instead of trading for replacements, they desired to save money, keep the farm stocked, and bring up players they deemed capable of contributing. Kalish and Daniel Nava have been necessities, not luxuries.

And the two commentators said “sayonara” to the Red Sox after they pulled off a must-win to keep them in the race. I understand that Boston’s odds aren’t great of coming back to nab a playoff spot. But they are still playing like they have a shot, as their game against the Orioles exemplified.

Boston fell behind 5-2 after two innings as Jon Lester struggled against an offense that helped Baltimore win 17 games in August. And with the way the Red Sox offense has played of late, the three-run deficit appeared to be too daunting a hill to climb.

The third and fourth innings went by with no sign of life, but then came the fifth.  J.D. Drew clubbed a solo homer off rookie Jake Arrieta, nailing it to dead-center to pull Boston within two.

Lester followed with his third straight scoreless inning, and then pitched his fourth as the Red Sox offense also went scoreless in the sixth. To win, two runs were needed with nine outs remaining, a daunting task for a struggling group of hitters. But they came alive in a big way once Mark Hendrickson entered from the Orioles bullpen.

Their relief hasn’t been good this year, ranked 24th out of 30 teams with a 4.38 ERA. Hendrickson continued their woes, then Alfredo Simon built upon them. The former allowed a two-run homer to the previously struggling Marco Scutaro, who has been battling an assortment of injuries lately. Suddenly, Boston was tied on the timely and unexpected one-out blast by someone who hit only .237 hitter for the month of August.

Then they were tied no more, as Drew, the last hitter Hendrickson would face in the seventh, walked to start another rally. Simon replaced the tall veteran left-hander and was similarly ineffective. The cooling off yet still quite warm Victor Martinez laced a straight fastball to right-field for a go-ahead double, then the Orioles made matters worse by making a questionable decision.

Buck Showalter has done a fine job since taking over as manager last month, but this was not one of his better moments. Instead of pitching to David Ortiz, who has been hot and cold this season, he intentionally walks the slugger to bring up Adrian Beltre, who has been on fire all season long.

He wanted to set up the double play, which is what most managers would do in this situation, but because of what ensued the decision is nightmarish for the Orioles and their fans.

Beltre gladly strode to the plate with a second runner on base and tagged the second pitch he saw from Simon sky-high to left field. He didn’t get all of the 96 mile-per-hour fastball, but it had just enough giddy-up to get out. A three-run homer, notching Beltre’s 24th of the season and 89th, 90th, and 91st RBI. With a 9-5 lead, the Red Sox dugout exploded, as everyone slapped hands vehemently with all three who scored.

Then they were similarly congratulatory when closer Jonathan Papelbon collected the final out of the ninth for a 9-6 win that was made even more pivotal with victories posted by the Yankees and Rays. In recent memory, Boston hasn’t given up until the fat lady has sung. She hasn’t yet, Berthiaume and Boone.

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