Saturday, October 04, 2008
SOX RISE ABOVE FALLEN ANGELS
Top of the 9th, 5-5 game, the MLB record holder for saves in a season on the mount, and as a Red Sox fan, you expect to win, and win right then and there. This is the hold the Boston Red Sox have on the Anaheim Angels. Personally, I thought Ortiz was gonna hit the homerun, and he nearly did. But it was JD Drew, the much maligned, much complained about JD Drew.
The Man of the Game is JD Drew. Obviously he had the game winning blast, but he also knocked in a run in the 1st with a big 2 out double, and made a good catch to rob Garret Anderson of a homerun in the 6th.
We were all worried about how Jason Bay would react to postseason play. It's only been two games, but 5 for 9 with two homers and 5 RBI is a pretty good start. Eat that, Bill Simmons (more on that topic at a later date).
Going back to Fenway with a 2-0 lead is phenomenal. Lots of Sox fans would've been satisfied with a split. But let's not go crazy and start planning our ALCS drinking routines. There's one part of Game 2 that has me concerned...
5 innings, 3 runs, 108 pitches, 8 hits, 3 walks. That might do for the regular season, against Baltimore. But in the playoffs, there's no such thing as an "average" start. There's great, good, and not good enough. This start was not good enough. The Sox were put in a position of relying on that questionable bullpen for 4 innings. Papelbon had to get 6 outs.
The Angels figured Matsuzaka out. They swung at bad pitches in the first few innings, but they adjusted in the 5th. Daisuke averaged less than 6 innings per start this year, and in the postseason that weakness has been even more exposed. I'm not trying to be negative, but this is a potential problem in either a Game 5 in this series, or in any ALCS.
Francona's decisions to play Kotsay and Cora paid off. Cora was 1 for 3 with a double and a run scored. Kotsay was 2 for 5.
The Sox left a lot of men on base, but they weren't catching any breaks out there. Hard hit balls were being caught. Pedroia, Youkilis, and Ortiz all missed homeruns by inches. All those balls seemed to be gone when they came off the bat. It reminded me of last year's ALCS, the way balls found the opposing team's gloves so easily, no matter how well they were hit. And Mark Teixeira had one of the softest 3 for 3 performances I've seen in awhile.
Kevin Youkilis' defensive display in the 9th inning, to me, exemplified why he is this team's MVP. He already made a few good plays at first in Game 1. Last night, Torii Hunter bunts up the 3rd base line, Youk barehands it, and fires a bullet to 1st. Then, he grabs the foul ball that was headed for the photographer's nest. His defensive versatility and offensive production are second to none on this team, and possibly in the AL.
Nice New England sports doubleheader on Sunday. The Pats in San Francisco at 4, and the Angles at the Sox at 7:00. Joe Saunders (17-7, 3.41 ERA, no postseason experience) vs. Josh Beckett (we all know his October resumé).
AP Photo/Chris Carlson
AP Photo/Mark Avery
AP Photo/Mark Terrill