Game 3 – American League Championship Series
Red Sox 9, Angels 1
Red Sox win, 3-0
per·func·to·ry [per-fuhngk-tuh-ree] –adjective
1. performed merely as a routine duty; hasty and superficial
Today’s dictionary lesson brings us the word best used to describe the Sox’ thorough dismantling of the game, but woefully short-handed Angels. The Sox did what favored teams are supposed to do, methodically and inexorably crushing their foe with a combination of stellar postseason pitching and first timely, then explosive offense. The Halos never had a chance, especially without a healthy Vladimir Guerrero and Garret Anderson. I'd feel sorry for them, except that nobody offered the 2006 Sox the same pity, nor should they have.
MLB doesn’t typically offer MVP awards in the Division Series round, but MLC doesn’t play by the Man’s rules. David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez will each be receiving copper-plated replicas of the keyboard I use to pound out these pithy dispatches (copper, because we can’t afford bronze) in recognition of their combined excellence in carrying the Sox’ offense against Los Angeles. Papi reached base in 11 of 13 plate appearances, batting .714 with 2 lead-giving HR and 3 RBI, and posting a 2.417 OPS (yes, I’m aware of the size of the sample – can’t ask the guy to play more games in service of statistical validity now, can we?). Manny only hit .375 and turned in a 1.740 OPS, but he wound up driving in the eventual winning runs in both of the final 2 games of the series.
Even as the offense rose to the occasion when it counted, the Sox’ arms don’t suffer all that much in comparison. The Angels managed a total of 4 runs in the series, with yesterday’s Gagne-being-Gagne episode accounting for 1 of them. Curt Schilling and Josh Beckett hung 16 scoreless innings on Los Angeles, pacing the Sox staff, which kept the Angels to a team OPS of .503 in the series.
That’s 2 big, black checkmarks on the Sox season-long to-do list. Thanks to their efficiency in dispatching the Angels, we all get to wait until Friday before they get a chance to begin work on the third. I’d like to say I’m torn about my preference for the opponent, but that’d be lying – I’m rooting for the Indians, not because I think they’d make an easier matchup (in truth, I don’t – the Tribe’s pitching is far superior to the Yanks’), but because I’m completely exhausted by the Sox/Yankees Festival of Hype.
Either way, I’ve got a feeling that the ALCS might offer a bit more nail-chewing drama than did the ALDS. Stomach, you’ve got 4 days to commence churning.