Climbing the Ladder with the American League 10/19/08
ALCS Game 7 – It’s do or die.
The waiting game continues.Â It’s pretty much all the baseball fans can do today. Last night at Cask N’ Flaggon outside of Fenway park, hundreds of fans, like the millions across the across the country, were in an uproar screaming and hollering for the bar to put the game on. Â Little did they know, TBS was having technical difficulties with two of their circuit breakers in Atlanta and the broadcast had been derailed like Joba Chamberlain’s ride home from the bar last night.Â Viewers were ultimately subjected to 20 minutes of The Steve Harvey Show...awful. Â Baseball fans waited last night and will wait again today for the clock to strike 8:07.Â At least sports fans have football to pass the time today.
Well it looks like the Boston Red Sox are on the verge of “doing it again”. Every media outlet is running their own story about how Boston is painting a picture similiar to the ones they did after being down 3-1Â in ’86 to the Angels, 3-0 in ’04 to the Yankees, and again down 3-1Â to the Indians in ’07. Well now it’s up to Jon Lester and Matt Garza to become the hero for their home town team.Â It was Clemens in ’86 who got the ball on Wednesday, October 15, 1986 in a do or die game 7.Â Clemens went on to pitch 7.0 innings while giving up 1 earned run on 4 hits to an 8-1 win over the then California Angles.Â It was Derek Lowe who took the ball for Boston in game 7 on Wednesday, October 20th, 2004 in Yankee Stadium, putting an end to the Yankee’s season.Â Lowe last 6.0 innings, giving up only one earned run on one hit, earning the W in a 10-3 win over New York.Â In 2007 it was Daisuke Matsuzaka who on October 21,Â went 5 in his game 7, leading Boston to an 11-2 win over Jake Westbrook and the Cleveland Indians.
Now it’s Jon Lester’s turn.Â Lester, who’s posted a 1.83 era over 19.2 innings this post season will face Matt Garza for the second time this series.Â Garza won the battle of game 3 when he tossed 6.0 innings of 1 run ball to improve his post season record to 1-1.Â Garza, who wears his emotions on his sleeve will need to block out the pressure of the do or die situation and hope that the bash brothers in the middle of the line up are able to get to Boston’s newly anointed post season ace for a few long balls.Â Lester will need to respond in his dominating post season manner but no one knows if he has enough in the tank to do so.Â The career highs in innings may be taking a toll on the young lefty.Â The one thing on Lester’s and the Red Sox’s side is their ability to make adjustments.Â Lester has transformed the way he’s pitched since the beginning of the season and will need to take what he and the Sox have learned about how to pitch to Upton and Longoria and get the job done, something they haven’t been able to do with Upton so far in the ALCS.
The Rays have gone from a team who had nothing to lose, to a team with everything to lose.Â Tampa had a 7 run lead and was 7 outs away from going to the World Series.Â They had the Red Sox down and almost out, but the Sox fought back and now the pressure has shifted to the Rays in this game.
If you look in the paper or on TV, Boston and Tampa are tied 3-3 in this series.Â No Rays player will admit it, but the Tampa will be playing from behind even before the first pitch of this game has been throw.Â Only 6 previous teams have rallied from a 3-1 deficit in the ALCS to win the series and Boston is responsible for 3 of them (see above). Tampa’s Cliff Floyd says “Nobody is panicking. Nobody is worried. Awe? Shock? Yeah, and rightfully so. But in terms of our team, we have a young team, but we have a good team, and if we play our game we’re going to win. It’s just unfortunate that team over there is a pretty good team, too. It’s going to be a good battle.”Â Tampa does have a young team and a good team, but will they be able to knock the defending champs out of the playoffs?Â I guess we’ll have to wait and see tonight.