I know that a lot of people, players specifically, use the phrase “tip [our] cap”. I think that it is appropriate to use that phrase in this situation, as a Red Sox fan. Everyone really has to tip their cap to the Rays. Think about it. From the worst team-in history- to leading a series, against the Boston Red Sox nonetheless, 2-1. It’s unbelievable, but really, congratulations to them for getting this far.
Now, it seems like the Red Sox could potentially be out of the series because of this loss. I don’t think so, and I know that we’re not. It’s a 2-1 deficit, it’s not like it’s 3-0 (which they have beaten before). The most surprising and upsetting part of it though, is that our ace, Jon Lester, was disappointing in this loss. I think that everyone got overconfident with him, and that perhaps he, got overconfident with himself. Before the game, people like Dennis Eckersley and Cal Ripken Jr. were all saying how Jon Lester is probably the best lefty in the game. I think that everyone needs to ground themselves a little and stop chalking up wins in his name. He may have given up five runs in his first three innings, but after that, he was pretty solid. Paul Byrd’s longevity has been proven, seeing that he pitched the remainder of the game (all while giving up two home runs). Now that Game 4 is coming up, I think we should evaluate everyone’s performances thus far. I’m an expert on the Red Sox, to say the least, but I’ll do what I can with the Rays.
-Daisuke Matsuzaka: truly proved that he is the master of getting out of jams, which is quite reassuring. He had a no hitter going into the seventh inning, and was basically lights out.
-Josh Beckett: says that he is fine, so I believe that he is, and I still have faith in him. Sure, he’s not the “lights-out post season Beckett” that everyone expects him to be, but quite honestly, how do you expect that out of a guy? He set the bar ridiculously high for himself, and everyone goes through ups and downs in their career.
-Jon Lester: was lights out in the ALDS not giving up any runs, but that run ended, and it was inevitable anyway. Perhaps the runs that he allowed in game 3 account for the runs that he didn’t allow in the previous games, or perhaps he got overconfident. On a positive note though, he did settle after the third inning.
-Tim Wakefield: will be pitching tonight. He has gotten unlucky this year with run support and what not, but has also been vastly inconsistent. He is 0-2 against the Rays this year, so statistically, he’s due for a win. He’s 19-5 against them lifetime.
-Justin Masterson: has been the lights out force that we have been looking for all year in the bullpen. When he is well rested, he is so useful and dominant. Great start to a career for a rookie.
-Hideki Okajima: has done so much better this post season than he did in the regular season. It’s good when people decide to up their game for the post season.
-Jonathan Papelbon: has set a new record for everyone else to try and surpass (innings pitched without any earned runs, and has been lights out thus far
-Paul Byrd: did alright in yesterday’s game… i mean, he lasted for it all. He didn’t help us out much with trying to keep our deficit to four runs. He made it to eight runs.
-Mike TImlin: I don’t even want to talk about him. I know he’s a renowned veteran and all, but seriously, when your time is up, your time is up.
-Jacoby Ellsbury: Regardless of the fact that he doesn’t have a hit this ALCS. Cut him some slack. He’ll turn it around, and I have so much faith in him because I know he’s absolutely wonderful. Everyone else should too.
-Dustin Pedroia: This kid is insane. He sure as hell turned around a postseason slump into some glorious hit galore.
-David Ortiz: needs to turn around his post season. He’s not even batting above .200. I have faith in him, but all year he’s been in this frustrating slump.
-Kevin Youkilis: is trying to get us through this postseason, he really is. He just needs help from everyone else.
-Jason Bay: has had probably one of the most incredible starts to a post season ever. He’s batting over or around .400 which is unprecedented for anyone. I don’t even think of it as “replacing Manny” as so many say. It seems so natural.
-JD Drew: has been struggling a bit, and I think he can help us out a lot. He’s just gotta turn it on.
-Mark Kotsay: I’m so sorry to say this, but he is completely useless. Where is Sean Casey?
-Jason Varitek: is trying his best to guide our pitchers and still lacking in offensive support; but his efforts with our pitchers are always greatly appreciated and seen.
-Jed Lowrie: has had a great start to his rookie post season, including a walk off single. I think he should bring some of that momentum to the ALCS though.
Game 4 is tonight. It’s not over yet, by any means.