October 19, 2008

ALCS 7: Rays 3, Red Sox 1

Red Sox - 100 000 000 - 1  3  0
Rays - 000 110 10x - 3 6 1
Tampa Bay Rays - 2008 AL Champions.



Lester was good (7-6-3-0-8, 107), but Garza -- named the MVP of the series -- was better (7-2-1-3-9, 118).

Dustin Pedroia lined a home run to left in the first -- 6th pitch of the game -- and David Ortiz followed with a walk. Garza retired the next two Sox and outside of hitting FY in the third and walking him in the sixth, no other Sock reached base until there was one out in the seventh.

By that time, the Rays led 3-1. Lester did set down the first nine Rays batters, but a two-out double from Evan Longoria in the fourth tied the game and three straight hits to open the fifth -- Willy Aybar double, Dioner Navarro single, Rocco Baldelli single -- gave Tampa Bay a 2-1 lead. Aybar donged to start the seventh to give the Rays a two-run lead.

Boston tried to rally. After Kevin Youkilis popped to shortstop to start the seventh, JD Drew walked on four pitches and Jason Bay singled. After a mound visit from Joe Maddon, Garza -- working slowly -- got Mark Kotsay to fly to right and then struck out Jason Varitek on a changeup in the dirt.

In the eighth, Alex Cora batted -- Tito was not very Assassiny tonight -- and grounded to shortstop. Jason Bartlett did not charge the ball and it clanked off his glove for an error. Maddon went to the bullpen -- repeatedly. He used four relievers in the inning. Dan Wheeler allowed a single to right from Coco Crisp but got FY on a routine fly to left. JP Howell came in and got Ortiz to ground to second (on seven pitches) and Coco was forced. Chad Bradford fell behind Yook 3-0, battled back to a full count, and walked him. Then David Price came in and struck out Drew on a 1-2 check swing.

Price -- who began the year in the lowly Florida State League -- came back out for the ninth. Jason Bay (cbbfbf) walked, but Price struck out Kotsay (ffbbc) and Varitek (bsfbs). Jed Lowrie pinch-hit for Cora and grounded a 0-1 pitch right to Akinori Iwamura, who grabbed the ball on a high hop and raced to second for the Red-Sox-season-ending force.

The Rays and Phillies will play Game 1 of the World Series at the Trop on Wednesday night.

***

Jon Lester / Matt Garza
Red Sox            Rays
Crisp, CF Iwamura, 2B
Pedroia, 2B Upton, CF
Ortiz, DH Pena, 1B
Youkilis, 3B Longoria, 3B
Drew, RF Crawford, LF
Bay, LF Aybar, DH
Kotsay, 1B Navarro, C
Varitek, C Baldelli, RF
Cora, SS Bartlett, SS
The Globe reports that the Red Sox are "sticking with the idea that Alex Cora hits hard-throwing right-handers better than Jed Lowrie". Cora went 1-for-3 against Garza in Game 3.

I checked their 2008 splits and have decided to not freak out.
Against Power Pitchers

Cora .302/.377/.415
Lowrie .200/.333/.259

Against RHP

Cora .266/.378/.363
Lowrie .222/.308/.344
***

Here is a handy chart of how many pitches each reliever has thrown in the series:
Bullpen Pitches Thrown 

Red Sox 1 2 3 4 5 6 TOT

Okajima 4 28 28 32 92
Masterson 5 18 39 15 18 95
Papelbon 12 18 38 8 76
Lopez 1 26 27
Delcarmen 20 28 17 65
Timlin 23 31 54
Byrd 47 47

Rays 1 2 3 4 5 6 TOT
Howell 12 23 20 25 23 103
Balfour 21 19 25 18 83
Price 3 12 15
Bradford 24 14 38
Miller 8 6 1 15
Wheeler 48 33 81
Jackson 14 25 39
***

Fact: Tampa Bay is three two one games away from elimination.

The Red Sox have won nine consecutive ALCS elimination games. Tonight, they go for #10.

Kevin Youkilis:
It's amazing. It's really amazing the games we play, and how much fun it's been. When we're all old and our children are all grown up, we'll sit around and meet up and talk about games like the game the other day. It's a wild ride, and we're very spoiled.
Jonathan Papelbon admits he's "pretty beat up". His fastball was only 92-93 mph last night.
For me, in these things, if I don't have my A-plus fastball, I'd better have my A-plus mental approach and my A-plus headset. My head was right tonight.
Hideki Okajima threw two scoreless innings last night -- the third time he has done so in this series.

From Josh Beckett's post-game interview:
Josh, you struggled in the postseason thus far, but tonight you looked like the Josh Beckett of 2003 and 2007.

I don't know really if that's even a question. ...

The Clifford Floyd at-bat in the fourth --

Clifford?

Some of his friends call him that. ...
Also: Post-game Q&As from Maddon and Francona.

Joe Maddon:
We've got one more shot. We can truly teach ourselves a lesson. We can do something that will make an imprint on us for a long time.
You sure can, Joe, and you will, but it's not going to be the good kind of imprint.

Evan Longoria makes no sense:
In my opinion, there'll be less pressure on anyone. We'll throw it out there and have fun. I think there was more pressure when we were up 3-to-1. There was pressure on us to end it. Elimination games are always pressure-packed. You feel you have to win them, and in that situation you start to press. Now it's back to 0-0, and we'll come out and play the way we've been playing all year.
Dood, this is an elimination game! So start pressin'!

Clifford:
They're the World Series champs. You've got to take it from them. They know how to win. They stay poised in tough situations. That said, it's going to happen [tonight].
Sean McAdam, Herald:
The Rays had spent the off day Friday swearing up and down that, nope, there wasn't going to be any sort of carryover effect from Game 5, and yep, they had already forgotten all about it and seemed almost offended by the line of questioning.

Crushing loss? What crushing loss?

But defeats like Thursday's don't wash off in the shower. They stay with you. ...

The cracks are starting to show now. Arguably the best defensive team in the league during the season, the Rays have withered in the field in the last two games. ... The bullpen, so critical to the team's magic this season, suddenly looks vulnerable. ...

Game 7 comes tonight, the game the Rays didn't want. They have whiffed on two chances to put the Red Sox away for good and tonight they get their last chance.
***

It worked in 2004. It worked in 2007. It'll work in 2008.
One.

One game. One win. That's all.

Tonight.

1,008 comments:

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Joe Grav said...

1001

Joe Grav said...

thanks for recording that. it's always poignant

Amy said...

So I woke up this morning with that awful sad feeling. No more Red Sox baseball for months, possibly the last game for Tek as a member of the Red Sox (not that I am suggesting his offensive record this year was not pathetic, but still very sad for me), and on top of that, we just had our last weekend in our cottage until next spring. So...summer may have officially ended a month ago on the calendar, but it all ended with a bang for me last night. Today the weather was below freezing when I woke up, there is frost on the plants outside, and there is no doubt that winter is on its way.

Hate to break the perfect 1000 comment count, but I had to vent somewhere, even if no one is still reading here.

phil said...

My fucking internet went out in the middle of the game, so I had to suffer through it alone. Fucking Verizon. Fucking Rays.

L-girl said...

Oh no, poor Phil.

Now that it's over, I'll announce more bad news: Nix's cat died. He and his g/f are extremely upset.

nick said...

Oy vey. I wanted the Sox to win (duh) but, Manny-like, it's still just a game. My condolences to Nix and his GF and to everyone whose had some significant life-bumps round these parts.

Zenslinger said...

In San Francisco, we more or less have no seasons as they are known in other parts. But today dawned cool and dry with a nippy wind going -- an October morning back East. I thought of the Green Fields of the Mind sentiments, and told both my morning classes about the them since many have only a vague notion of these kind of seasonal emotions.

Like Amy, I feel sad today, weighed down much more by the end of the season than any bitterness about losing.

ish said...

Like Amy, I feel sad today, weighed down much more by the end of the season than any bitterness about losing.

After a full day, I can tell you that's the feeling I feel as well.

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