Monday, September 15, 2008

Red Sox Survive Toronto Visit

With four games to play against a red hot Toronto team that was suddenly very interested in a playoff spot, Red Sox fans were a little anxious. But, four games later, the Red Sox can hold their heads high. They battled well, and only lost one of the four games, effectively driving a dagger into the Blue Jay's hopes of a last minute drive for the Wild Card. As it stands, the Jays and Yankees both are facing an elimination number of 5. That means any combination of Red Sox wins plus losses by them that add up to 5, will eliminate those teams. With the Red Sox having 13 games left, if they go 5-8 in those games, both Toronto and New York are out. That sounds pretty likely.

Jon LesterJon Lester had no fear facing Roy Halladay yesterday. They went toe to toe and Lester faced Doc down. Both pitchers got in a little trouble early on. Lester gave up a solo home run in the first, and Doc gave up single runs in the first and second innings. But then they settled into a rhythm and held the 2-1 score all the way to the seventh inning. The Sox scored an unearned run in the bottom of the seventh, the last inning Halladay would pitch. Lester got through 8 innings before getting a rest. He left the game with a 4-1 lead, allowing only 4 hits, two walks, and producing 6 strikeouts. Terrific night for Lester!

Roy HalladayLester handed the ball over to our recently shaky closer. In two of his last 3 appearances, Jonathan Papelbon has look far from immortal. Last night's ninth inning started with a double and a single to score a run. The next batter, Lyle Overbay, hit a single to left but got thrown out at second trying to stretch his hit into a double. Had he held up at first, Papelbon would have been in deeper trouble. Scott Rolen grounded out, but Adam Lind scored the second run of the inning on the play. The score was now 4-3 and Papelbon was on the brink of a second blown save in a week. Luckily, he induced Greg Zaun to ground out to end the game. Let's hope Papelbon irons out whatever he needs to so we have our guaranteed closer ready for the playoffs.

We'll get a final shot to knock Tampa Bay down a notch or two starting tonight as the Sox open a three game series against the Rays in Fenway South. Tonight's match up should be interesting with Daisuke Matsuzaka facing off against Scott Kazmir. Josh Beckett takes on Andy Sonnanstine on Tuesday, and Tim Wakefield wraps up the series against Matt Garza. All good pitching match ups, no excuses. to the winner go the spoils.

(Photos Courtesy of ESPN)


Suldog said...

Great photo of Halladay on the release.

This series in Tampa is where it's at. They're 0-6 so far, so they have to win this series, IMHO. If not, I fear it will be a short playoff run.

Rooster said...

Let's see if Tampa shows up tonight!