The Red Sox picked the worst possible time to play their worst possible game.
The team on the field at Fenway in Game 1 of the ALCS bore little resemblance to the one that went into Yankee Stadium last week and won two straight games to oust the Yankees and wrap up the American League Division Series.
In no particular order Saturday night, the Red Sox:
Issued 10 walks.
Hit three batters.
Managed just three hits.
Handed the Houston Astros the first three runs on two misplays by Eduardo Nunez.
Had Chris Sale completely lose the strike zone in the second inning.
And yet, after all of that, the Red Sox were within a run after eight innings, capable of tying the game with one swing.
Depending on your vantage point, that can be either irrelevant — a Brandon Workman meltdown in the ninth made the final score a lopsided 7-2 — or incredibly frustrating.