By all rational measure, the Sox were dead, done and finished last night. Their postseason was floundering more than the John McCain campaign. There was a greater probability of the reanimated corpse of John Lennon joining Peter Gammons on stage at Hot Stove Cool Music for a "Yellow Submarine" sing-a-long then there was the Sox erasing a seven run deficit.
But slowly but surely, the Sox cut into the lead, largely due to some much-needed clutch two-out hits. And when Mr. Roboto sealed the deal in the bottom of the ninth with a double-scored-single to knock in Youkilis, the collective heads of Sox fans around New England imploded. Unfracking believable.
Despite the obvious parallels to the comebacks of 2004 and 2007, I am still pessimistic about this series. The thought of a hobbled Captain Kickass taking the mound on Saturday gives me shivers. But at least the Sox did not get swept at home. At least the Rays do not get the chance to celebrate at Fenway. At least the TBS announcers, who had waxed rhapsodically about the Rays' defense, had to eat a plate of crow pie after Longoria's ill-timed error. Other thoughts:
- What was Joe the Manager thinking? Leaving the right handed Grant Balfour in to face Big Papi. Walking Jason Bay to get to J.D. Drew, a lefty who is 4-7 lifetime against your lefty pitcher J.P. Howell. The TBS sycophants called this an "unconventional move." I call it incredibly, jaw-droppingly stuuuuuuuuupid.
- I am on record as an opponent of the phrase "Red Sox Nation" and all the silly chest puffing associated with it. But how could you not watch last night's game and take a deep sense of pride in Sox fans? Despite the large deficit, most fans remained in the stands and the faithful were pretty much on their feet from the seventh inning on. For all the usual complaints about fair weathers and pink hats, that was dedication. Can we all just agree, however, to keep our shirts on?
- Speaking of managerial moves, a lot of people are praising Francona's decision to bring out Papelbon early in the game. Its great to see managers not leave arrows in their quivers, but why isn't this an accepted move outside of the postseason?
- The Sox comeback was the largest in postseason history, surpassing a mark set in Game 4 of the 1929 World Series. Seems like its becoming more like 1929 every day.
- Can you believe Masterson has appeared in seven of the Sox eight postseason games? Even more impressive, can you believe he's given up only 2 ER in 8.2 IP of work?
- Good news: more baseball. Bad news: its back to the Arm Pit and its cowbells, mohawks, and flying vajayjays.