Wednesday, October 13, 2004

American League Championship Series - Game 1

Yankees 10, Red Sox 7
Yankees lead 1-0

If you start with the premise that the Sox are destined to lose a few games in the postseason, even if they go on to win the World Series, then last night's loss, while unpleasant and numbing to watch, is about as "good" a loss as is possible. I see you out there in Blogland, sighing like Al Gore in the 2000 debates, rolling your eyes like C+ Augustus (with credit to Eric Alterman fo the nickname) in the first 2004 debate, calling me a hopeless pollyanna. But stay with me for a moment.

This game could not have gone worse for the Sox from the jump. Curt Schilling was awful, clearly battling his bum ankle. The defense didn't help the early innings, with Manny Ramirez costing the Sox a run by giving Hideki Matsui an extra base in the 1st inning, and Trot Nixon costing the Sox a run by taking a bad angle on Matsui's bases-clearing double in the 3rd. And it didn't help in the late innings, with Manny failing to reach Bernie Williams' 2-run double in the 8th. Plate umpire Randy Marsh seemed to squeeze a few Sox pitchers in key spots - though Mike Mussina's dominance of the strike zone may have made that more a perception than reality. And Mussina was more than dominant, keeping the best offense in the American League off balance (and freaking hitless) for 6+ innings, and taking an 8-0 lead into the 7th.

The game could not have gone worse for the Sox, and yet they had the tying run on 3rd base in the top of the 8th inning, and they got 2 runners on to bring the tying run to the plate in the top of the 9th. They made the Yankee bullpen work hard in a game where they should've been able to take naps. The Sox, and the Nation, should take great solace in the fact that the Sox played as badly as they're probably capable of playing, and they still scared the bejesus out of the Yankees.

That said, if Pedro loses tonight, it's thumb-in-mouth, curl-into-fetal-position, mumble-incoherently time. We'll see whose Daddy comes to play tonight.

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