Sunday, October 19, 2008

Red Sox Smell Blood

I'm still a little confused. Are the Rays named after a fish, or a beam of light? They have a fish tank in center field full of Rays, and yet they have a sunshine sort of symbol on their jerseys. If they are fish, I might quip, "the tide is going out fast on the Rays' first post-season", or I might say "the sun is setting on the Rays' brilliant season", or something like that. Either way, I cannot help but hum a Queen song in my mind as I think about their plight; "Under Pressure".

I think the Red Sox have made it clear, once and for all, that it is simply a waste of time to count out a playoff team, even when their back is to the wall. You cannot say, "it looks like it is all over for the Red Sox this year", or anything like that. Instead, you need to say things like, "the Red Sox are down 3 games to 1, and are in a perfect position to make this a truly exciting playoff series".

Yes, I was very nervous about Terry Francona's move to start Josh Beckett in yesterday's game. I knew Beckett would battle like a gladiator, but there is only so much a wounded soldier can do. In the end, Beckett was no where near his 2007 post-season brilliance, but he did pitch well, relying on spotting his fastball, and mixing in the curve ball more than usual. The result was that he lasted 5 innings, only allowing 2 solo home runs. The bullpen gave him incredible support with 4 shoutout innings from Hideki Okajima (2 innings), Justin Masterson, and Jonathan Papelbon.

The Sox matched the Rays' solo home runs with 2 of their own, thanks to Kevin Youkilis and our very own captain, Jason Varitek. Tek had made us all groan in the second inning when the Sox looked like they were about to run Rays' starter, James Shields, out of the game. But runners at first and second with two outs, Varitek ended the inning with an easy fly out. The solo home run in the 6th inning made up for that nicely.

The Rays did not completely implode last night, but they look like they are feeling the pressure. The swagger has lost a touch of its swag, the head held high is drooping just a bit. This team has never faced this kind of heat. Playoffs are one thing, but getting bowled over in game 5 by an historic come-back team while standing directly in the bright hot light of the national media seems to be getting them nervous.

The largest crowd, by my estimation, ever to attend a Rays' home game was in the stands last night. 40,947 people came out and brought a real playoff atmosphere to the dome. I tip my hat to you all for that. Hopefully even more will turn out tonight. Regardless of the outcome, tonight's game will be a piece of baseball history. Either the Red Sox will have miraculously escaped, yet again, from the jaws of defeat, or the Rays will be on their way to their very first World Series.

Now, if the contest was to see who could spit the most times per inning, I'm afraid Jon Lester would have his work cut out for him. Matt Garza can spit with the very best players in history (just watch him tonight, and count how many times he spits in an inning). But, thankfully, spitting does not count, and a rested Lester should prove to be a hell of a challenge for the Rays tonight. My real concern is for Papelbon. He did a nice job last night, but his fastball was about 5 or 6 miles per hour slower than normal. I doubt that was intentional. If he was fatigued last night, he'll be more so tonight. If this game is close, I can't imagine being with an effective Papelbon. Keep you fingers crossed on that one.

Under Pressure!


Anonymous said...

Wow it is good to hear a rational Red Sox fan. You are right, the Ray's are feeling the pressure now, all of the errors show that. The home run in the first turned up the heat a little.

Anonymous said...



Count 'em, Nation! THREE!

Where's Big Poppy now? 2 for 20?

Looks like MANNY RAMIREZ stole Big Poppy's MoJo and took it to LA. Don't be surprised, Nation, when Tek goes looking for MoJo and Moola in LA, too!

(you heard it here first!)

Ah, now you can turn The Nation's attention to THE CELTICS! Maybe they can TRADE for Larry Huge!


Hey Nation!
Your boy Kerry was so good at spending all that EXTRA $10,000,000 he had to contest the 2004 election he just had to call it all off and POCKET all those donations! Nice.


Peter N said...

A very timely comment, ANON. Why so cruel? What's YOUR team done lately? I guess you're still mad that the Sox were the better team last year and came back from a 1-3 deficit. Just a guess. Stop at my blog anytime at all. I welcome you.

Rooster, I'm sad and know the rest. I even had to take a five minue timeout while writing my Monday morning post. I'm SO proud of our team...congrats on your first year of blogging. You get better every day. Pete

Suldog said...

Congrats to the Rays. They earned it. Garza was immense.

You'll probably like my piece today, Rooster - about a chance breakfast encounter with Yoooooook.

Rooster said...

I see we have an irrational anonymous visitor. I am going to leave the comment there and want to point it out as an example of what poor sportmanship looks like. I coach youth softball, and you all know I strongly teach good sportsmanship. If you foget those lessons, you'll end up like that poster. Don't be like that.

Win with grace and charm, lose with dignity.

Sul, I'll be right over.

Right on Peter and Sul. Sox and Rays both had great years, and entertained us with a fun ALCS. Rays were a half step better all year long, and that lasted right up until the end. They are good. If they stay loose and confident, they should win the whole thing!

Shortly, we can start the hot stove talk!

Soxlosophy said...

i missed this post. i'm glad someone else is bothered by this. i've been calling them the equivocation rays; waffling back and forth between ray of sunshine and ray of fish. of course, the name isn't very catchy.

Anonymous said...

We SO proud of our team..

team work