Wednesday, October 17, 2007

ALCS Games 3 & 4


This scene of the RS dugout during last night's Game 4 of the ALCS just about sums up how things have gone in Cleveland. It hasn't been pretty, to the point that I'd already repressed all memories of Monday night's game, and had to go back and re-read the recap on Not fun.

Monday, Daisuke Matsuzaka could only go 4.2 innings, and the Sox bats were basically dead. The highlight offensively for the Sox was Jason Varitek's two run homer in the 7th, but it was not enough. The Sox lost 4-2 The dead bats have lead to too many double plays, and on Monday one of those DPs came with the bases loaded. Crushing.

So, with the Indians leading the series 2-1, last night's game was big. Okay, not a do-or-die game (that will happen tomorrow night :( ) , but it would have tied the series and ensured a return trip to Fenway. Instead, the pitching and offense again proved mediocre. Actually, after a 16 day rest, Tim Wakefield gave us some pretty good innings. He had a no-hitter going until the 4th, and the knuckleball really seemed to be fluttering and confusing the young Indians batters. But then came the bottom of the 5th - and inning that seems to sum up the series. A lead-off homer to Casey Blake (who has the best beard in baseball, IMHO). Some defensive boo-boos, including a wild stab by Wake that bounced off his glove and killed what looked to be a sure double play. Suddenly, the knuckleballer had crossed over into ineffectiveness. I give Francona credit for the quick hook - and in came the usually reliable Manny Del Carmen. Unfortunately, not so reliable. He gave up a 3 run homer to the man with the horribly spelled name, Jhonny Peralta - and suddenly it was 7-0. Ugly.

The bright spot was the first signs of life for our bats in the top of the 6th. Back-to-back-to-back homeruns by Youkilis, Ortiz and Ramirez seemed to signal a momentum shift in our favor - but it was not to be. That was it, and the Sox went down 7-3.

There was lots of talk yesterday about whether Francona should have skipped Wake and gone straight to the ace, Beckett - have him pitch on short rest. But Tito opted for Wake - and that decision seemed the right one for the first four innings. But...there will a lot of second-guessing and armchair managing going on today in RS Nation.

But now we do have a fully rested Beckett on the mound tomorrow night for the pivotal game. We lose, we go home...We win, WE GO HOME! Fenway hasn't been kind to our opponents in the post-season. I said a week ago that Joshua Patrick would get us to the promised land of the World Series, so let's hope he gets something started for us Thursday night.

Keep the faith! Go Sox!

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