I could try to rack my brain this morning and conjure up some individual-focused narrative about just how brilliant Derek Holland was last night, or just how good the timing on David Murphy's 14-for-28, three-homer, two-walk run over his last seven games really is (punctuated by a 4-for-5 showing last night), or just how floored I was by Elvis Andrus's jack over the Green Monster, or that whole hotly anticipated Leonys Martin debut -- but why should I bother when there's already such a fascinating, readymade angle dangling out there in front of me?
The Boston Red Sox are a great offensive team. Devastating, even. Entering last night's series-opening tilt, the Red Sox offense wielded an .280/.350/.459 aggregate batting line on the season, which doesn't really strike you as so devastating until you recall how far run-scoring has slipped. By the measure of wRC+ (which, again, can be thought of as a much better balanced version of OPS+, adjusted for both park and league), the Red Sox' offense has proven 19 percent better than the league-average baseline this season. In the last 30 years, only four other teams have hit that benchmark -- the 1982 Brewers (121 wRC+), 2003 Red Sox (120 wRC+), 2007 Yankees (120 wRC+), and 2011 Yankees (120 wRC+). This offense is a legitimate juggernaut that stands up very well from an historical standpoint.
It's also somewhat accountable for perhaps the single greatest throttling of the Red Sox in Fenway Park history.
For his seven innings of work, Holland was dazzling. I do feel that he has logged starts in this season alone where he has appeared more impressive (the post-mortem of this particular scoreless effort reveals a substantial number of fastballs that caught the middle of the plate, for example), but he sat at 94-96 mph all night long (maxing out at 98 mph), and scattered enough quality breaking balls among his 98 pitches that the Red Sox never even had a prayer of a chance. There is still inherent meltdown potential there, of course, but at this point in the pitching evaluation game, I just don't see how you can justify excluding him from your post-season rotation plans when you know there's a reasonable chance of extracting something like that. Sure, he's capable of killing you. He's also capable of taking over a short playoff series.
On the flip side, you had Andrew Miller getting run out of the stadium by a vengeful Rangers offense before the second inning was even in the books, and by the time the night was done, Texas had plated 10 runs on 13 hits and five walks against zero runs on two hits and no walks for Boston. As was already pointed out by ESPN Stats & Information, this constituted the first time that the Red Sox had been victims of a double-digit, two-or-fewer-hit shutout loss at home since May 25th, 1939, when Bob Feller and the Indians flattened them by an 11-0 margin. Batting seventh and playing right field was a slump-mired rookie named Ted Williams, who went 0-for-4 against Feller that day. The next day, he began a 12-game hitting streak during which he elevated his OPS from .757 to .913, and never looked back again.
I digress, however. Feller, for his part, allowed only one hit on the day but did allow five walks, so it couldn't be said that the Red Sox suffered from a complete shortage of scoring opportunities. What about games where the Red Sox reached base twice at most, such as they did on Friday night? That particular fate has now befallen Boston 32 times from 1919-present ... but in only one of those 32 games did Boston allow double digits, with that game being their May 10th, 1932 throttling at the hands of the Tigers in Fenway Park. Detroit scored a clean 11-0 win, but led only 1-0 after five innings, 3-0 after six innings, and 4-0 after seven innings, so hope remained alive into a comparatively late point in the game. From a win probability standpoint, it was a close game.
Compare that to Friday night, when the Rangers sent the Red Sox' win expectancy tumbling below the 10 percent mark for good before the second inning was even through. In fact, they never even managed to advance a runner beyond first base. The Red Sox may be beneficiaries of one of the great offenses of this era, but you can construct a fairly compelling argument for this being their single worst, most unwatchable regular-season loss at Fenway Park in the last 90 years -- and out of more than 7,200 home games, to boot.
Just one game out of 162? Yeah, just one game out of 162 ... but an historically significant game, at that.