one of the greatest comebacks ever

17 10 2008

If you know me and you know what happened last night in Boston, you already know what I will be writing about today.  The Red Sox were down 3 games to 1 in the 2008 ALCS, which meant last night was a must-win game or they go home and watch the rest of the playoffs on TV.

The Red Sox won game 1 in Tampa Bay, then gave away game 2 in extra innings, then got beat badly at home in games 3 and 4.  The odds were in favor of Boston in game 5, because Dice-K Matsuzaka had pitched so well in game 1, and Scott Kazmir had pitched so bad in game 2 (and his other previous starts).  But once again we saw why sports are the best reality TV — you NEVER know what’s going to happen.

Kazmir found his game and was dominating.  Dice-K was giving up home runs at an unprecedented rate.  After 6 1/2 innings, Boston was down 7-0 and had managed only 2 hits.  So it looked very bad.  The Rays have a really good bullpen, and the biggest lead they had blown this year was 3 runs.  So what are the odds of them blowing a 7 run lead?

I kept thinking the Red Sox have to put up a fight, and find a way to get back in the game.  They finally did in the 7th.  Trailing 7-0 with only 7 outs left, they stepped it up.  Dustin Pedroia knocked in the first run with an opposite-field single.  The crowd started standing and cheering, anticipating something big to happen next.  David Ortiz, who had been struggling a lot this year because of a wrist injury, hit a long 3-run home run.  Then in the 8th inning, J.D. Drew hit a two-run home run.  Next, Mark Kotsay doubled, and then Coco Crisp had an incredible at-bat, fouling off many pitches before he could hit the game-tying single.

In the 9th, Kevin Youkilis reached on an error by Evan Longoria, then Jason Bay was intentionally walked.  J.D. Drew hit a ground-rule double to win the game 8-7, capping off the second biggest comeback ever in the postseason.

You just never know what will happen.  For the Red Sox to play so poorly for 6 innings, batting .100 as a team, then to bat .563 in the last 3 innings, is unusual.  They stepped up in the clutch, when their backs were against the wall.  Which is what I would expect from this team, because of what they had done in the 2004 ALCS and 2007 ALCS.  As Bill Simmons put it:

The Boston Red Sox had lived to fight another day. More importantly, the champs decided they were going down swinging. Win or lose this weekend, that’s all we wanted. Show some pride. Show some heart. Show us last season meant something. And they did.

This reminds me of the 2004 ALCS vs the Yankees, when the Red Sox were down 3-0 and came back (becoming the first team to ever do that in a best-of-7 series).  It’s also similar to the 2007 ALCS vs the Indians, when the Red Sox were down 3-1 but then came storming back.  Both years they went on to sweep the World Series.  I hope that happens again this year, but for the moment, I’m going to enjoy the awesome comeback.  As a Red Sox fan, it was like a baseball movie, except it was unscripted and really happened, against all odds.

FYI, if the Rays were playing any other team besides the Red Sox, I would root for the Rays, because they have an incredible story, going last-to-first despite one of the lowest payrolls.  But I can’t root against my favorite team…

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3 responses

20 10 2008
Beppo

The Red Sox went on to win game 6 and had their chances in game 7, but the Rays prevailed in the 7-game series. You can’t win ’em all…

Besides, sports would be boring if the same team always won and if it followed some type of script. (I’ll keep telling myself this while wishing the Red Sox had won… I’ll feel better about it eventually.)

22 10 2008
Kri'

Why are you talking about baseball? No one cares about baseball, man.

23 10 2008
Beppo

Sure they do! Don’t you know it’s AMERICA’s pastime? They sell millions of tickets per year, plus many more millions watch on TV. It’s awesome!

Why do you want to put it down, Kri’? Were you not any good at it? Is that the reason for your bitterness? Let it go, man…

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