Sunday, October 6, 2013

Sox 2 Rays 0 2013 Division Series

A few things as we await the third game of the series.  Comments about a game refer to the second one unless specified otherwise:

--Let's not celebrate yet.  The third win is always the hardest, or so the players say.  Five teams have won the first two Division Series games and not the series.

--Each of the three double plays ended an inning, and none was more important than Tazawa's.  He's this bullpen's weakest link.  Out of the really important pitchers, anyway.

--Breslow continues to amaze, but I still hope Buchholz goes into the eighth inning next time.

--It is not as easy as Uehara makes it look.

--Speaking of which: Uehara threw 11 pitches.  All strikes.

--The most important stat of the night: Not Ortiz's two homers.  Not Pedroia's three RBIs.  It's Ellsbury's three hits and three runs scored.  He is the oil that lubricates this offense and keeps it running smoothly.  If he's not on base, and stealing bases, and creating errors, and taking the pitcher's mind off the other batters, then Pedroia doesn't drive in three because there's nobody to drive in.  As Ellsbury goes, so does the offense.

--Speaking of which: I've not been an Ellsbury fan the last couple of years, since he exploded on the scene in 2007, because of his many injuries and days on the DL, and his fragility and reluctance to play unless he's 100%.  (Which no ballplayer ever is.)  But I'm a fan this year.  The Sox need to resign him, though not at the expense of other players, of course.  He's beloved here, so I hope he doesn't take the money (the Yankees, the Dodgers and the Angels will all offer more during the offseason) and run.

--I have a very reliable source who says that Ellsbury is such a jerk that he will, in fact, take the money and run.  Of course, if someone offered me millions more than I'm making now, I might, as well.  Who wouldn't?

--But this very reliable source is firm on the fact that he is a very big jerk, and is known for being so.

--It was nice to hear the applause that Lackey got when he left the game.  Last year and a couple of weeks ago, all of those cheers were very loud boos.  Well, when his name was spoken, anyway, since of course he wasn't on the field when he cashed his checks totaling about $16,000,000.

--I'm closer to California than Stephen Drew was to second base when he turned the two late-inning double plays tonight.  But we'll take 'em.

--Next year, when the abomination of the instant replay starts, you won't see those proximity plays anymore.

--The Rays pitching and defense are tired.  Moore and Price usually manhandle and shackle the Sox.

--Breslow continues to impress during his interviews, which is not normally where players shine.  But this Ivy-League educated guy is yet to give a cheap or cliche answer to any question.  He must've missed Bull Durham.

--Rays' manager Joe Maddon said after the game that he looks forward to Game 5 at Fenway.  And he sounded like he meant it.  Gotta respect that.  (And let's hope he's of false hope.)

--A shout out to my friend Chris, who was at Fenway during Game Two of this 2013 Division Series.

--I've never seen the Sox run the bases as well as they have the past two games.  You expect Ellsbury to score from first on a double, but not on a hard-hit ball to left field at Fenway.  And Gomes scoring from second on an infield hit last night by Stephen Drew?  That's right out of Major League.  (Literally.  Remember Jake's bunt?)  Unbelievable.  The Sox I started watching in the mid- to late-80s were the exact opposite of this, barely-fit sluggers who clogged the basepaths and didn't hustle.  (For the most part.  Ellis Burks and a couple of second basemen were the exceptions.)

--I have to admit that I worried when Breslow came in, and was loudly critical of Farrell for bringing in Tazawa.  But what did I know?  (Except that Tazawa was brutally bad in September, and that double play perhaps saved the game right there.)

--I thought Breslow should've started the eighth, and bring in Uehara for a four- or five-out save, if necessary.  Breslow hadn't thrown many pitches at all, because of the double-play, and because the Rays swung early against him.  Tazawa worries me.  A lot.

--I thought starting Ross was a mistake, too.  But he hits a double, and scores a run, and there's only one base stolen against him.  So what do I know?

--Here's to hoping for a Game Three win for the Sox, and for a Series win by the A's over the Tigers.  Is that asking too much?


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