All I talked about in my last blog was belief. How I believed in the Red Sox, and I wouldn’t give up until the game was over. I have to be honest with you, I did have a little doubt when we were down 7-0, but I knew we wouldn’t go down without a fight. And as we kept accumulating runs, I thought: look, regardless of what happens tonight, or for the rest of the series, we fought. We didn’t go down without a fight, we didn’t lose a pathetic game 5-0. We’re 7-1 in elimination games with Terry Francona. It’s the first time since 1929 that a team has come back from 7 runs (the Philadelphia A’s did it against the Cubs). I was so disappointed in some of the Fenway Faithful that ended up leaving the park. But you could tell that the real fans were there with the consistent faith that was evident throughout the night.
Tessie, “Nuf Ced” McGreevey shouted
We’re not here to mess around
Boston, you know we love you madly
Hear the crowd roar to your sound
Don’t blame us if we ever doubt you
You know we couldn’t live without you
Tessie, you are the only only only
“I mean, I sat in that dugout for a lot of wins this year and took the smiles and the laughs and everything. You hate to sit through a night like tonight. I can’t wait — I won’t bail on those guys. We’ll show up tomorrow and play.” – Terry Francona October 16, 2004– the night the Red Sox were blown out 19-8 by the Yankees and fell into the 3-0 deficit hole.
Game 4 of the ALCS was a blowout, I’m not going to lie. The Sox just haven’t been playing well. It’s not just one person, it’s kind of like the entire team is in a collective hitting slump. Tim Wakefield, who had been dominant against the Rays throughout his career, was anything but last night. It really proved to me, and I think a lot of other people, that this is just a different Rays club. They sent Tim Wakefield back to the bench after 2 2/3 innings. Just Masterson came in and pitched a couple of solid innings, walking one and striking out four. It’s nice to know that he is so reliable. Unfortunately, you can’t say the same about Manny Delcarmen, who gave up another 6 runs and loaded up the bases for Javier Lopez. Kevin Cash hit his first postseason homerun in his first postseason at-bat, and that was probably the highlight of the game. David Ortiz broke his 0-for-12 skid with a huge triple and the Red Sox had a mini rally in the eighth inning cutting the deficit to nine runs. But everyone knew that it was over. Terry Francona’s attempt to move JD Drew up to the leadoff spot and bench Jacoby Ellsbury proved unsuccessful. It was a good attempt, they needed some kind of switch. But I think that switch is from off to on.The one thing that disappoints me a lot, is to see the cluster of Red Sox fans leaving midway through the game. They’re probably the financial elite, but if you’re a true Sox fans. You sit there until the end, and say: damn, we’re losing, but I still love this team. You never give up. The question is, can history repeat itself? The Red Sox have did it in 1986 against the Angels (then went on to play the Mets and lose in seven painfully memorable games), in 2004 against the Yankees (and went on to win the world series for the first time in 86 years against the Cardinals in a four game sweep) and in 2007 against the Indians, with whom we were tied with for the best record in baseball (and went on to win the world series in four against the Rockies who had one 20 out of their last 21). The notion that lightning can’t strike twice in one place (that place being the ALCS) has been proved a fallacy, and it seems to me that history can repeat itself. As Ian Browne (I think) of redsox.com put it so well “The Red Sox are the Lazerus of baseball”. It’s so true. So folks, it’s time to get the rally caps out.
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.
Jamie Moyer became the oldest pitcher in history (45) to start a LCS game, but he only lasted 1 1/3 innings; his shortest start in 10 years. He gave up 5 runs in the first inning to an explosive Dodgers team. Hiroki Kuroda pitched seven strong innings for the Dodgers to cut their deficit to just a game. The only other run that the Dodgers scored was on an RBI single by Nomar Garciaparra. There was some bad blood between the Phillies and Dodgers thad had been brewing since the beginning of August when a pitch was thrown behind Manny Ramirez’s head. A couple of pitches were thrown tonight, Martin was hit in the knees, and Manny was hit in the helmet, so the Dodgers decided to retaliate by having Kuroda throwing a ball over Shane Victorino’s head. After he grounded out, they both exchanged some words, enough to clear the benches. Although no punches were thrown, Manny came charging in from left field and was restrained by Joe Torre and some of his other teammates. It wasn’t even about him. There’s a big difference between 3-0 and 2-1. The Dodgers came through in a must win situation.
Yet again, an unhealthy Beckett took the mound in this disappointing Game 2 loss. Everytime the Red Sox got a run, the Rays would answer, and vice-versa. Every time someone got into a deficit, the other team would come right back along answering with a home run. 7 home runs in one game tied the record. Dustin Pedroia hit two out, and Kevin Youkilis and Jason Bay went deep also. Once again, Beckett was not his normal postseason shut down. What happened? The middle relief did pretty well, we used our entire bullpen except for Paul Byrd. I don’t know why we used Timlin and not Byrd. The minute Timlin started walking to the mound, I (and probably the entity of Red Sox Nation) knew that the game was over. Timlin loaded up the bases and then gave up a sacrifice fly to end the game to BJ Upton. Byrd probably would’ve done better, but nobody knows. Papelbon was in for 30 pitches. I hope he’s okay to pitch Monday night. Can you believe the eruption of Evan Longoria after he was silenced in Game 1? The Rays were a bit more loose tonight. It was quite an exciting game to watch, but also frustrating for both sides. Quite honestly, I would’ve rather Wakefield in tonight with Beckett’s crap performance. And now the series goes back to Fenway.
Game 2 NLCS: Philles are now 2-0 over the Dodgers, winning 8-5. Not only did some of the RBIs come form the reliable Shane Victorino, but 3 of them came from Brett Myers, the pitcher! Doesn’t look like the Dodgers are going to win in 5 now, looks like they’re going to have to submerge from a 2-0 deficit first.
Judging from last night’s game [1 of the NLCS], this series is going to be pretty tight. Manny Ramriez started it in the first with an RBI double, thus retaining his status as Mr. Postseason. And after the Dodgers doubled their score to make it 2-0, Shane Victorino got on first on a throwing error by Furcal that would change the entire game. Chace Utley came up next and hit a two run homer only to be followed one batter later by Pat Burrell. Brad Lidge came to close it up for two innings as the Philles took Game 1 at Citizen’s Bank Park. October Gonzo predicted Dodgers in 5, but are they really going to win four in a row? Dereck Lowe couldn’t come through for the Cubs and the Hamels rode some glorious offensive support after a challenging first couple of innings. We can’t count the Dodgers out yet though, they’re one powerful, passionate team.
Today marks the beginning of the NLCS. Philles vs. Dodgers, 8:22 tonight, it’s gonna be great.