A Few Days of Reflection.
With the season on the line, and all hopes dashed, seemingly, the Boston Red Sox made the greatest comeback I have ever witnessed in a postseason game.
I was glued to my tv the night the Cleveland Indians made THE most incredible comeback I have ever seen in this sport. Down 14-3, I think, to the Seattle Mariners, they somehow came back to win that game. That was a truly unbelievable event in the world of sports. That same night, over on ESPN 2, Sammy Sosa tied the game up against the Dodgers or someone, with a two run home run in the ninth, two outs too I think. This may have been the greatest night of baseball I have ever seen.
But that night I had no personal stake in either game. A great night of baseball nonetheless. But I am not a fan of any of the four teams that competed. I am a fan, however, of the Boston Red Sox. I am not going to lie, I was keeping my eye on the game, but I was flicking between other tv shows as well. South Park being one of them. But I never truly gave up… altough things looked about as dim as they could get. It was basically finished, and basically finished in my mind, but giving up completely was not something that was done. And then I flicked back, missing a half inning, what was a very important half inning. One in which David Ortiz actually had a good swing, and one in which three other players had to come through, all with two outs.
So I was “suckered” back in. I had hope once again. Thinking to myself, I was, why did they do this to me? I still knew it would be very difficult to overcome a three run lead in merely two innings of play, but it was something. And without this something, there would have been nothing else to the season. Papelbon retired the Rays in the top of the eighth, and the 5-6-7 hitters were coming up for the Red Sox. Still, a victory was a longshot. Bay walked on four pitches, something that is simply inexcusable, from a pitchers standpoint. Then Drew rocketed a ball into the right field stands, something he does well when he is seeing the ball well. Jed Lowrie and Sean Casey were disposed of. Then Mark Kotsay laced a ball just out of the reach of Upton’s glove, actually hitting his glove, but falling in for a double. Coco stepped to the plate. Coco is a player, that when at the plate, I don’t have much faith in. There are plenty of ways to get him out, and there is a reason he isn’t a full time outfielder for this team. But as Francona stated, Coco had a truly great at bat, and smoked a single that allowed the game tying run to score from second in the form of Kotsay. Coco was thrown out at second, which as my Dad said, wasn’t a bad play. It was an errant throw that happened to be right to Carlos Pena, and with two outs, trying to get in scoring position is a good idea. Outs are bad, but this was a “less bad” out.
The Rays threatened in the top of the ninth, only to see Pena get duped into that inviting two seam fastball that Masterson uses to induce ground balls. Inning over.
And then, then came the ninth, which started rather meekly. Two quick outs. Then Youkilis had a very good AB, something he does quite frequently. But the end result was a routine ground ball to Longoria. And this play symbolizes the game in my opinion. Whether or not blowing a bubble matters or not, I don’t know. It probably makes little difference, but while Longoria makes a nice play, he blows a bubble, then makes a low throw that Pena cannot scoop. Man in scoring position, two outs. Evan Longoria is a very good player, already. And I am not necessarily getting on his case for blowing a bubble in the middle of a crucial situation, although it really doesn’t look good. If I am going to get on someone’s case for taking it easy, it will be BJ Upton. Those nonchalant prances in center, as talented as he is, come off as very arrogant to me. He has actually misplayed a few of them in my opinion because he approaches the ball like he already has it caught. But back to the play, it kind of showed me that the Rays maybe weren’t all there at the end of this game. That they thought they had sealed the deal, and were off to the World Series.
…Up to the plate steps trade deadline acquistion Jason Bay. Four tough pitches to take…and Bay is intentionally walked. Buster Olney is right, when Drew is “locked in” he is among the best in the game. But knowing he was locked in simply because he belted a home run two innings earlier, is not completely realistic for an opposing manager. And 4-7 is a small sample size, but one could look at it either way. Drew doesn’t exactly kill lefties, Bay however, does. Bay has been good against both lefties and righties over the course of his career though. Drew then smoked another ball that had enough juice to end up over the head of the right fielder. Whether he was playing in too much or not, hitting the ball hard, more often than not, results in good things. And this time it was a very good thing. The game was won, and all was good in the City of Beantown for a few more days.
With all that emotion felt, the Rays are a very good team. And they are still only one victory away from a trip to the Series. The realist in me knows that it will be extremely hard to win the next two games. But anything can happen, and if the Rays win, then congratulations! They were the best team in the American League. But the Red Sox are still alive, and still have a chance. And win or lose, it will not change what happened in game 5 to all of the people that care about this Red Sox team.