Red Sox - 100 000 000 - 1 3 0Tampa Bay Rays - 2008 AL Champions.
Rays - 000 110 10x - 3 6 1
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
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.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
I checked their 2008 splits and have decided to not freak out.
Against Power Pitchers***
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
The Red Sox have won nine consecutive ALCS elimination games. Tonight, they go for #10.
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.Also: Post-game Q&As from Maddon and Francona.
I don't know really if that's even a question. ...
The Clifford Floyd at-bat in the fourth --
Some of his friends call him that. ...
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'!
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 game. One win. That's all.