Saturday, October 11, 2008

No No-No, Sox Still Prevail

Well I must honestly say that I missed most of last night's game. I was out celebrating my girlfriend's birthday, so it's not like my priorities were out of line. I'm actually reminded of the scene in Goodwill Hunting where Robin Williams is telling Matt Damon about the 12 inning walk-off home-run that Carlton Fisk hit in game 6 of the 1975 World Series against the Cincinnati Reds at Fenway. If you haven't seen the movie or can't recall, Williams tells Damon that he and all of his buddies had tickets to the game, but he didn't go because he was at a bar meeting his future wife. 

Warning: Video contains strong language

This obviously isn't the same scenario (it's just the first game of the ALCS) but you get the point. 

I had full intentions of watching the game sometime this morning, but I had part of the game spoiled for me during dinner when I found out that Daisuke (Dice-K) was pitching a no-hitting through 6 and the Sox were clinging to a 1-0 lead over the hosting Tampa Bay Rays. I was a little irritated but also excited at the same time. I wound up getting home from dinner at the bottom of the ninth, and by this point I had already found out that the no-no was no longer in tact. I turned on the TV to see Jonathan Papelbon doing what he does best: dominate and confuse opposing hitters. 

As you can probably tell this is a very high level overview of the game, but I rewound the DVR to catch some of the earlier innings and I must say I was impressed with the defensive performance from the Sox. On a night when their bats were relatively cold, the Red Sox used their defense - fielding and pitching - to crush any momentum the Rays were building. Take the first inning, for example, when Daisuke walked the bases loaded. The home crowd was on their feet and fired up, but Cliff Floyd was induced to an inning-ending ground out to second. Daisuke finished with 9 strikeouts to help his cause.

It was a good win for the Red Sox who lost 8 of 9 regular season games played at Tampa. Tonight's game two pits Boston's Josh Beckett vs. Tampa's Scott Kazmir. Beckett did not pitch well in his last outing, a 5-4 Boston loss against the Los Angeles Angels six days ago. If the Red Sox can return home from Tampa with a 2-0 series lead they will be in great shape, but we all know that no lead is safe anymore.

On more point I want to touch on - the amazing presence of Red Sox fans in attendance for last night's game. The most telling sign occurred during the bottom of the 9th inning, when Cliff Floyd fouled to third and Kevin Youkilis recorded the out. Fans showered Youk with a rousing "Yooooouuuuuuuuuuuu" and it was very evident that either 1) all of the Rays fans had left and only Sox fans remained 2) there is a strong contingent of Sox fans in Tampa or 3) all of the above are true.

For now, the Red Sox must concentrate on winning game 2. Sooner or later the Red Sox bats are bound to come around, but it is much easier to rely on a defense than a good offense. Game 2 can be seen tonight at 8:07 pm ET on TBS.

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