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Reaction to the Collapse: Red Sox take stock of biggest September swoon ever

09.29.11 at 3:59 am ET
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Catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia was one of many Red Sox who found it hard to process the shocking end of the season. (AP)

BALTIMORE — An air of despondency settled upon the visitor’s clubhouse after the Red Sox suffered a 4-3, walkoff loss to the Orioles, and then entered the clubhouse to watch as the Rays celebrated their own 8-7, 12-inning walkoff victory over the Yankees. Here is a sampling of postgame reaction in the aftermath of the Sox concluding the largest September collapse in baseball history.

GM THEO EPSTEIN

“This is one for the ages, isn’t it? What was going on with those two games, how poorly we played in September. We can’t sugarcoat this, this is awful. We did it to ourselves, and put ourselves in a position for a crazy night like this to end our season. It shouldn’t have been this way. … 7-20 in September, we go 9-18, we’re where we want to be. 9-18 is what, winning a third of your games? The worst teams in baseball win a third of their games. There’s no excuse, we did this to ourselves.”

“When you have the kind of month that we have, as it develops, you worry that you’re not going to accomplish your goals. We sure didn’t.”

“We got off to a bad start, 2-10, it was 81-42, and then September happened. 7-20. It’s impossible to explain, huge disappointment. We have no one to blame but ourselves. We did this to ourselves.”

“We don’t have any excuses, things went wrong from an injury standpoint, luck or fate or whatever you have it, but the overriding factor was just poor play. We did it to ourselves, we have no excuses. We’ll have time to dissect it going forward, right now it’s just nasty disappointment, obviously.”

MANAGER TERRY FRANCONA

“I don’t know how to evaluate it. Every time you lose, it hurts. When you go home before you’re ready, it hurts. As tough as it’s been this last month, we weren’t ready to go home. You want to go home when you dictate. Not when somebody makes you. It’s extremely disappointing.”

“I guess we regret we got ourselves in this situation. I don’t think we view it like that. You try to play every game and stay in the moment and not let those things get away from you. What we did two weeks ago wasn’t going to help us tonight. They’re may be a time to talk about it, I don’t know. I don’t know if I have a real great view right now.”

LEFT FIELDER CARL CRAWFORD

“I don’t think I’ve ever been a part of something like this. This is a devastating blow to us. We go down in history as one of the worst collapses ever. It definitely doesn’t feel good to be a part of that.”

CATCHER (AND CAPTAIN) JASON VARITEK

On where this ranks among his most painful moments with the Sox: “I don’t know how you can put this in the middle of anything. There isn’t probably a person in this locker room who doesn’t feel like absolute crap. … This is pretty numbing. I don’t know really how to explain it more than just numb.”

“We did it as a team. You can’t point your finger at any one thing, in my opinion. We had days we didn’t swing the bats so well, days we didn’t pitch so well, days we didn’t play good defense and days we did all the above real well and didn’t win. … I don’t think right now there’s a reason to point any fingers. We as players didn’t get our job done.”

“There’s been a lot of crazy different situations that have gone on, from the baseball element of it. From pitching to defense to timely hitting to a mix of all the above. I think that it wasn’t from lack of effort. I’ll tell you that much.”

SECOND BASEMAN DUSTIN PEDROIA

“I’m heartbroken, man. Played my butt off for 100 and whatever games. So, that’s about it. … It’s devastating man. That’s basically it. I don’t have anything else for you.”

“This sucks. You work hard the whole offseason, you work hard the whole year to be a good team. And then now we’re one of those teams that don’t get a chance to accomplish our goals. It’s devastating man.”

FIRST BASEMAN ADRIAN GONZALEZ

“It was a season that we had a really good chance and just didn’t get it done. That’s something to use as, I guess, motivation for next year.”

On the cause of the collapse: “Definitely injuries. You have [Clay] Buchholz in the rotation, just that one guy. Daisuke [Matsuzaka], you have him in the rotation all year long, that’s 10 more victories. We probably win the division. Having [Kevin Youkilis] in the lineup the last month. It’s always injuries. Any team that doesn’t make the playoffs and is supposed to, it’s because of injuries. Plain and simple.”

DESIGNATED HITTER DAVID ORTIZ

On how this compares to the end of the 2003 season: “Not even close. Not even close to what happened to us in ’03. We walked into September nine games ahead, and look where we’re at right now. It can’t go no worse than that. This is worse. I never put any attention to where we’re at. … But at one point, I was like, ‘Wait a minute – we walked into September nine games ahead.’ Wow. It doesn’t matter what anybody here does. That’s going to stay in your head. That’s not a situation you want to be facing, but you learn from that.”

On what he can say to the fans: “Nothing I can say, right now. not too much to say. Everybody knows it all. … At the moment, I can’t really talk too much. … It’s horrible, man. Horrible.”

Read More: adrian gonzalez, carl crawford, collapse, Dustin Pedroia
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