Tuesday, October 07, 2008
"There's No Crying in Baseball"
The Red Sox lost eight of nine to the Angels during the regular season. So what? When it has counted, the Sox have dominated the Halos winning twelve of thirteen postseason contests. What have you done for us lately? Just win, baby!
The Angels botched the squeeze play, had regular defensive lapses, and got outpitched and outplayed. The better team? By what standard? The Angels ace couldn't win once, and Jon Lester, almost traded for Johan Santana moves to the ALCS while the Mets work on their short game. Karma.
Complaining that you're the better team just doesn't get it done. The Patriots lost to the Giants in the Super Bowl, because the Giants outplayed them. The Sox won for the same reason.
The Sox also won with limited offense from Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz, and a subpar performance from Josh Beckett. Mike Lowell finished the series on the DL and J.D. Drew spent much of the series in Ben Gay City.
And what of the Sox and the Rays? The Rays have solid pitching (Shields, Kazmir, Garza, and Sonnenstein) and star quality with Evan Longoria, Carlos Pena, and Carl Crawford. They can run and they can defend. They won the regular season series from the Sox, and also tattoed closer Jonathan Papelbon in crunch time. The Sox won't underestimate them.
Terry Francona must have his horseshoe out. The bullpen shuffle worked for the most part, and the Mark Kotsay first base experiment resulted in a pair of superb running catches. The Jed Lowrie insertion at shortstop paid dividends including a walk off hit. The series unofficial MVP was Jason Bay, with an OPS over 1.300, solid defense, and a critical extra-base hit and series-winning run scored. He also got through the finale without expending the bullets in Jonathan Papelbon's right arm.
And that makes this all possible.