Monday, October 06, 2008

Their Eyes Were Watching God

ALDS Game 3

Angels 5, Red Sox 4 (12)
Red Sox lead 2-1

The Baseball Gods did everything they could last night, but the Sox stubbornly refused their assistance, and in the end suffered for it, despite the otherworldly efforts of their own semi-deity, the Greek/Jewish God of Being Awesome at Baseball.

By rights, the Angels should have waltzed to an easy, 4-0 win. Instead, Jacoby Ellsbury drove in 3 runs in the 2nd with a pop fly single that fell between 3 Angels’ fielders and later “doubled” to left on a ball that glanced off the glove of nervous leftfielder Garrett Anderson. Ellsbury came around to score on Kevin Youkilis’ double to square the game at 4 in the bottom of the 5th. Ellsbury’s 3-run single was the first such play in postseason history. And the Sox looked that karmic gift horse squarely in the kisser.

First, it was Josh Beckett playing the role of Paul Byrd, struggling mightily even to get through 5 innings. Then, while the Sox bullpen was busy piling up zeros, the offense spent the better part of the game’s final 7 innings alternating between confused impotence and game of inches frustration. (Note: the use of the words ‘impotence’ and ‘inches’ in close proximity has no deeper meaning. Though it’s possible that the Viva Viagra marketing campaign may be influencing my blogging.) Dustin Pedroia hit several hard shots right at fielders, and the Sox loaded the bases in the 9th against the Angels’ allegedly dominant closer before Jed Lowrie lined out sharply to right. The Sox squandered a pair of leadoff baserunners in extra frames and finally went down meekly.

Kevin Youkilis, though, was anything but meek in this defeat. He pounded out a pair of hits, including the aforementioned game-tying double, but he saved his best efforts for the field. Youks was all over the place at firstbase, ranging to his left and right to snare grounders, sliding to the bag to beat an onrushing baserunner, charging a 50/50 chopper to ensure it stayed fair to retire Erick Aybar, and generally leading by example (and by obscenely gruesome beard). He may not be the AL MVP (my vote goes to Joe Mauer), but I’d be hard-pressed to find a more valuable member of the Sox. Youks’ value is even more pronounced as Mike Lowell’s injury worsens and J.D. Drew’s back stiffens.

The Sox weren’t winning 11 games in a row this postseason, so I’ll not rage too ineffectually against the indignity of this one (though I’d note quietly to the Sox my preference that they lose games in regulation on school nights – this 1:00 am crap is getting tiresome). One more home game tonight, with Jon Lester getting the ball against John Lackey.

It’d be really great if the Sox can win this one and save me (okay, themselves) from another trip to the West Coast.

1 comment:

Mike said...

If the Sox don't pull it out tonight I will be in a tough spot. I will have to watch a Dice-K game 5 which will definitely give me an ulcer and be doubly worried that I put the jinx on the home town team!