Red Sox - 011 002 000 - 4 10 0Sometime during the seventh inning on Thursday night, I made peace with the fact that the Red Sox 2008 season had come to an end.
Rays - 100 010 000 - 2 4 1
But then Boston came back and actually won the game. So while more than a few game threaders were highly anxious throughout Game 6 tonight, I was totally (and surprisingly) calm the entire nine innings. This might as well have been a March 20 spring training game.
After Tampa Bay had tied the game at 2-2 in the fifth, the Red Sox struck back with two outs. Jason Varitek homered to right field (!) -- it was a good thing our young dog was outside at the time, as our sudden yelling in the last two games has freaked her out. Coco Crisp singled, "Small Game" Shields was yanked, Dustin Pedroia reached on an error and David Ortiz singled in Crisp to give the Sox a 4-2 lead.
After Beckett battled through five innings (5-4-2-1-3, 78), Hideki Okajima threw two scoreless innings (allowing only a two-out walk in the sixth), Justin Masterson took care of the eighth (a leadoff HBP was marooned at first) and Jonathan Papelbon needed only eight pitches to get rid of the Rays in the ninth.
It's Lester/Garza on Sunday night -- for the American League pennant.
BR Preview: Josh Beckett / James Shields
Fact: Tampa Bay is
We tried to warn Joe Maddon that "when you have your target lined up in your sights, you fucking fire. You don't stop and check if your shoelaces are tied."
But Mr. 9=8 refused to listen. And now -- thanks to a clutch effort from nearly the entire Red Sox team -- his team has its back to the wall and assigned the task of facing Josh Beckett who must be burning to atone for his poor performance in Game 2.
We don't go up there and think, Now we've got to beat Beckett — no one cares about Beckett. Face him the same way you face everybody else. If anything, Beckett should be worried about us. We just beat him [in Game 2].Yeah, that's right. Piss him off. Chap his ass real good.
David Ortiz, on Beckett:
This is a big game, dog. I've got the feeling that he's going to bring it.And on the other side of the field?
The only kind of "Big Game" Shields will be is the kind Beckett and Timlin hunt in the off-season.
The Herald's Steve Buckley describes Ortiz "navigating the media throng that had assembled in front of his locker late yesterday afternoon at Tropicana Field, zigging and zagging to avoid a cameraman, bobbing and weaving to sidestep a guy with a microphone. ... 'I'll talk tomorrow with my bat.'"
According to Win Probability stats, when Justin Masterson got Carlos Pena to GIDP and end the top of the ninth, Boston's chances of winning the game increased 22% -- from 42% to 65%. It was the third most important play of the night. Ortiz's three-run bomb increased the team's chances of a win from 2% to only 9%. So even though it closed the gap from 7-1 to 7-4 -- which got everyone thinking a comeback was truly possible -- the chances of a team getting at least four more runs and winning the game was still highly unlikely.
Greg Agami of Cool Standings told the Globe that after trailing 7-0 after six inning of Game 5, the Red Sox had a 0.1 percent - 1 in 1,000 - chance to win the series. By comparison, in the middle of the ninth inning of 2004 ALCS 4, Boston had a 2.4%. That still seems high to me, but they trailed by only one run at that point -- not seven with a mere seven outs to go -- and had a 50% shot at winning each of Games 5, 6 and 7.
J.P. Howell, recalling the plane ride back to Tampa:
We started joking, "Don't be scared of Game 6." That's what we kept saying. We were bummed out. It was a terrible way to lose a game.***
JimBoSox9m, SoSH, October 17, 2008, 12:47 AM:
I just don't understand baseball. I don't get it. I've spent my lifetime devoting considerable mental resources to understanding my favorite sport, and I have no fucking clue how they just did that. ... Speechless, thoughtless, struck blind and deaf. Exhilarated, exuberant, overjoyed. What it comes down to? As long as the Sox still have baseball to play, it is still summer in my soul.Savin Hillbilly, SoSH, October 17, 2008, 1:12 AM:
Just got back from Fenway....Holy SHIT that was amazing. Like the best sex you've ever had, only a 35,000-way.
It worked in 2004. It worked in 2007. It'll work in 2008.
One. One game. One win. That's all.
Not two. One.