NEW YORK -- Andrew Bailey's season began with disappointment. Now that it's ending, it isn't getting any better.
Bailey suffered a freak thumb injury in the final week of spring training, leading to surgery that sidelined him for the first 4 12 months of the season.
Then, after a series of initial strong appearances, Bailey's season turned ugly again with a blown save two weeks ago in Tampa and another Tuesday night in New York.
Bailey came in for the bottom of the ninth, with the Red Sox leading 3-1, but immediately gave up a single to Curtis Granderson and then a two-run, game-tying homer to pinch-hitter Raul Ibanez.
Three innings later, Ibanez struck again with a walkoff single off Andrew Miller for a 4-3 Yankee victory.
"(Jon) Lester threw a great ballgame and the bullpen came in and did their job. I didn't," said Bailey. "That's it. I let the team down. Two-run lead, (I've) got to get the first guy out. I made a bad pitch to Ibanez on a 1-and-2 count, left the ball middle. I've got to get back to just making better pitches."
Bailey wanted the 1-and-2 pitch to Ibanez "off the plate. (But) I threw it right down the middle. Nothing else to it. He did his job. There's nothing fun about letting guys just run around the bases. Unfortunately, I'll have a long off-season to think about that."
The loss stung more because of the circumstances. Dustin Pedroia forced his way back into the lineup despite a broken finger and helped drive in the first run of the night. Lester, meanwhile, allowed only an unearned run in five innings and was in line for his 10th win until Bailey imploded.
"You have guys like Pedroia, playing with broken fingers, and Jonny throwing a hell of a ballgame," sighed Bailey. "I've got to get back to just getting people out."
Two weeks ago, as the Sox wrapped a series in Tampa Bay, Bailey also was victimized in the ninth by the long ball.
"No one likes losing," he said. "I've let the team down a few times and it's my fault. There's no one else to blame. (It's) a mixture of not getting ahead of guys and making bad pitches when I have to put people away. (Tonight) was a situation where I've got to put (Ibanez) away and I didn't."
Bailey has watched video and reviewed his outings and is convinced that the problems aren't related to his delivery.
"Everything feels good," he said. "I'm just not executing pitches when I need to. That's really the bottom line. There's just no excuse."
Bailey figures to be haunted by a loss like Tuesday's, but it might serve as winter-long incentive.
"Unfortunately, we have a long off-season," Bailey said. "This game is what's going to keep me pushing forward to next year. Everybody fought today and I went out there and blew it. It doesn't feel good, but these last two weeks are definitely going to keep me motivated enough to do more than I ever have."