October 2007

World Champs

What else is there to say?

I leave the forum to all of you men and women who have been filling the comments section all year.

Chime in now, with anything and everything you have to say about the 2007 Red Sox.

How do you feel now compared to the way you felt in 2004? Can you get used to this? Are the Patriots not going to be the only dynasty in town?

Spend Monday just sharing your thoughts. I’ll check back in later.

Ian.

Game 4 of the World Series

Could it all end tonight? Just 12 days after the Red Sox were down 3-1 to the Indians and hanging by a very small thread, could they win the World Series tonight?

Amazing turnaround. It would be more amazing if we didn’t see the exact same thing in even more impressive fashion just three years ago.

The only way the Rockies can get this thing to tomorrow is if Aaron Cook — idled since Aug. 10 — can produce the first quality start for the Rockies in the series.

This would sure be a great way to end it for Boston, with Jon Lester — we all know the storyline — being the winning pitcher.

I doubt we’ll see Okajima tonight. The bullpen got a good workout tonight. So the Red Sox are hoping Lester can give them some length.

Same lineup as last night.

Ian.

Thoughts from Game 3

Dice-K is finally starting to put it together. I know the line doesn’t look all that special, but he came two outs away from firing six shutout innings in a World Series game. And he also had a two-out, two-strike hit that might have delivered a fatal blow to the Rockies’ season.

You have to be impressed with Okajima. He gives up that three-run homer to Holliday, the place is going nuts, the Red Sox are only up a run, then he gives up a single. The crowd is going crazy. And he gets out of the jam.

Jacoby Ellsbury. What a story. When was the last time a September call-up made this big an impact on a championship team? It had to be K-Rod in ’02 with the Angels. Before that? Who knows.

Manny being Manny. Leave it to the flaky left fielder to come up with this gem of a quote following the win."We don’t want to eat the cake first, before your birthday," said
Ramirez. "We’ve got to wait and see what’s going to happen [in Game 4]."

Hilarious. And ever since Manny said the world would not end and that there was always next year if his team lost to the Indians, they haven’t lost another game. 6-0 since Manny’s memorable words.

This team is feeling good right now and it’s almost impossible to think they will lose tomorrow against Aaron Cook, who hasn’t started a game since Aug. 10.

Until then, I better get some sleep.

Ian.

Game 3 of the World Series

Here we are. Did someone say thin air? I can’t feel it. Maybe I’m hooked up to an invisible oxygen tank. But I seriously can’t feel anything. And I did some sprints up staircases just to see if I could get a better gauge. It just feels like regular air to me. Everyone ready for Game 3 of the World Series?

Supposedly it was cold on the field during batting practice because everyone was wearing ski jackets. But I couldn’t feel the cold either. Maybe I’m just in an alternate universe, I don’t know.

All I know is that Coors Field is ready for this game. Everyone is waving their white towels and is ready to see the Rockies get back in this World Series. The Red Sox are hoping to spoil the party and turned this jumping joint into a silent house.

This is one of the more unpredictable games I’ve ever covered. How can anyone know how Dice-K will fare in the thin air? I’m pretty sure the air was never so thin in Japan. Or Josh Fogg? Can he locate the offspeed stuff or will he leave it over a middle?

How much will the Rockies feed off their crowd? How much will the Red Sox be out of their element playing out here for the first time since 2004?

All of those answers are coming soon. It’s time to get your game on. World Series Game 3 — NEXT!

Ian.

Game 2 of the World Series

Ouch — J.D. Drew just got drilled. But he’s OK. He appeared to get hit on the shin or ankle, but he shook it off.

What a game of inches this really is. Ortiz belts one just foul around the wrong side of Pesky’s Pole. Otherwise, he has himself a three-run homer. An inning later, Lugo misses a two-run double by about a foot.

It’s great that we’re getting a competitive game tonight. Game 1 was a snoozer.

Everything still tells me this series is going 6 or 7. The Rockies are going to be tough at home.

Tito really wants to play David all three games in Colorado, so I would assume Lowell will play two out there and Youk will probably play one at third.

James Taylor did a great anthem. Steven Tyler awaits if this series gets back here for a Game 6 or 7.

Game 1 of the World Series

Get your game on, everyone. It’s Fall Classic time. Definitely a buzz in the air.

Lester is all but certain to pitch Game 4. The only thing that would prevent that is weather.

Ellsbury hitting ninth with the lefty going and Tek will vault J.D. and hit sixth.

How would you like to be the Rockies and not play for eight days and then step into the box against Josh Beckett? The man is simply locked and loaded right now. He struck out the first four batters he faced, making Josh  just the third pitcher in World Series history to start a game in that fashion.

And Pedroia goes deep to lead off the bottom of the first. My colleague Bill Ballou would be the first to point out that a homer that starts the bottom of the first inning is not truly a leadoff homer. At any rate, that was the 18th time there has been a leadoff homer in the World Series. The last? Johnny Damon, I think you might remember him doing that in Game 4 of a certain year in St. Louis.

But Pedroia became just the second player to do it in the first inning of Game 1 of the World Series. The first? Don Buford, for the Orioles on October 11, 1969.

Ian.

No Wake — no Game 4 starter

Tim Wakefield has thrown his last pitch of 2007. Unfortunately, the veteran knuckleballer just can’t shake the right shoulder injury that has bothered him for the last two months. It was a tough pill for Wakefield to swallow and he was visibly shaken during his press conference.

Tito wouldn’t commit to a Game 4 starter, but it will most likely be Jon Lester. And Kyle Snyder was chosen over Tavarez as the reliever to take the roster spot.

Ellsbury will start Game 1 in center against the lefty. So will Drew.

World Series time

Sox and the Rox. It’s got a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?

Just like that, the Red Sox crawled off the edge of a cliff and rallied back to beat the Indians, outscoring them 30-5 in the final three games.

It almost seemed too easy, didn’t it? Obviously Beckett changed the tone of the entire series.

I must confess I have not scouted the Rockies just yet. I get so locked in on this team that I don’t have much time to watch the National League.

But that will change in the next couple of days as I’ll get locked in on this series.

Beckett in Game 1; What does everyone think for Game 2? Wakefield. Schill?

We’ll find out tomorrow.

Anyway, I’m honestly pretty tired tonight. I’ll be back with some more energy tomorrow.

Ian.

Game 7

Here we go, Game 7. The Red Sox would have jumped at this chance four days ago when they were down 3-1 and they’re definitely jumping at it now.

Daisuke Matsuzaka had, in Jonathan Papelbon’s words, "a grin on his face" after the Red Sox won Game 6. He badly wants to redeem himself for the way he’s pitched so far in the playoffs.

Can Jake Westbrook do what Fausto Carmona couldn’t last night and quiet the crowd?

By the way, how bad is the timing of this HGH/Paul Byrd story for the Indians? The last thing they wanted today was an added distraction.

In a shocker, the Red Sox are keeping the same lineup that produced Saturday’s 10-2 romp.

The Indians will not play Nixon. Gutierrez is back in right.

By the way, the most revealing stats to come out of last night? The Red Sox are 13-3 in elimination games since the 1999 playoffs. And Curt Schilling has pitched five times in his career with elimination being the consequence of a loss.He is   4-0 with a 1.37 ERA. And the no decision was Game 7 of the 2001 World Series, his epic duel with Roger Clemens that the D-Backs won in the bottom of the ninth.

Best case scenario for the Red Sox tonight would be seven innings from Dice-K and two from Papelbon. That way you could open the World Series with Beckett if you can win this game. Tito said before the game that Wake is the only pitcher not available tonight. He threw a side before the game. I’d think he might be a candidate to pitch one of the first two games of the WS. Not sure you want him pitching in Coors Field. the last time the Red Sox went to Coors, back in 2004, they purposely re-aligned the rotation so that Wake wouldn’t pitch.

The crowd last night was the best it’s been all year. Tonight’s will be louder. That is, unless Westbrook or the Cleveland bats can keep them quiet.

More later.

Ian.

Game 6 is here and so is Ellsbury

Jacoby Ellsbury is in the lineup. He is batting eighth and playing center field. No more Coco, at least not tonight.

Frankly, it was getting a little painful watching Coco try and hit. He looked as lost as I have ever seen a hitter look in October. He wasn’t even making solid contact.

I think Ellsbury is the type of player who can really energize a team. Eric Wedge countered with a move of his own, putting Trot Nixon in the lineup in place of the struggling Franklin Gutierrez.

It could not be a nicer night for baseball. Bill Mueller will throw out the first pitch, marking his return to Fenway for the first time since his departure from the team following the ’05 season.

If you’re looking for more good karma besides Bill Mueller, today happens to be the four-year anniversary of Game 7 of the 2004 ALCS.

But karma won’t play as big a role as pitching. Fausto Carmona threw an absolute gem against the Yankees in Game 2 of the DS in Cleveland. Can the kid do it in this environment? Does Schilling have one more epic October performance left in him?

Here are the lineups:

Red Sox:
Pedroia 2B
Youkilis 1B
Ortiz DH
Ramirez LF
Lowell 3B
Drew RF
Varitek C
Ellsbury CF
Lugo SS

Indians:

Sizemore CF
Cabrera 2B
Hafner DH
Martinez C
Garko 1B
Peralta SS
Lofton LF
Nixon RF
Blake 3B

Carmona SP

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