Is it reasonable to reduce a three-hour, thirty-minute ballgame to a pair of ground balls that, combined, consumed all of 20 or 25 seconds of the evening?

Of course not, but here goes:

The telling moments for me in Tuesday night's 3-2 Cub defeat at Tampa were Neil Cotts's seventh-inning throwing error on a ball hit by Akinori Iwamura, which set up the Rays' ultimately critical insurance run, and of course, the play that Evan Longoria and Willy Aybar made on Reed Johnson's bunt with two outs and the tying run just ninety feet away in the top of the ninth.

It really is true that the same kinds of mistakes that can easily be overcome against the Pittsburgh Pirates and Washington Nationals of the world can be backbreakers against a good team like the Red Sox or the Angels or the Phillies or, hard as it is to believe, the Tampa Bay Rays.


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