Monday, October 20, 2008

A Ray of Sunshine

If you didn't get to see last night's game 7 of the ALCS, you missed out on a tense, well played nail-biter. The Rays emerged with a 3-1 victory to gain their first shot at a World Series title and in the process prevented the Red Sox from a possible World Series repeat.

Some big game performers emerged last night, both in victory and defeat. Matt Garza garnered the ALCS MVP after he won his second game of the series to go along with a 1.38 ERA. He allowed a first inning home run to Dustin Pedroia, but only allowed one more hit through 7 innings plus a batter in the eighth.

Then Joe Maddon mixed and matched his way through the final two innings. Jason Bartlett, who made a crucial error in game 6, committed another misplay on Alex Cora's grounder to start the eighth. Joe Maddon sent for Dan Wheeler, who gave up a single to Coco Crisp before getting Pedroia to pop out to left for the inning's first out. J.P. Howell came on to get David Ortiz to bounce into a force out for the second out, but Chad Bradford issued a walk to Kevin Youkilis to load the bases. Maddon then went to his stud rookie prospect, David Price, to go up against left-hander J.D. Drew. After mixing off-speed pitches with 96-mph fastballs, Price got Drew on a check swing strike three for the final out of the inning.

Price walked Jason Bay to start the ninth, but struck out Mark Kotsay and Jason Varitek, and induced a game ending ground out from Jed Lowrie. Second baseman Aki Iwamura snared the grounder and took it to the bag himself to send the Rays into celebration.

Lost in the game was another outstanding performance by Jon Lester, who was arguably the Red Sox best starter this season. He scattered six hits over seven powerful innings. But with Carlos Pena on first and two out in the third, he hung a pitch to Evan Longoria who smacked into the right field corner. It bounced around enough to get Pena home just ahead of the relay from J.D. Drew to tie the game at one apiece.

Willy Aybar led off the fifth inning with a double and Dionner Navarro reached on an infield single in the hole at shortstop. A field good story was then in the making when Rocco Baldelli singled in what proved to be the game winner. Lester beautifully worked out of a possible bigger inning to keep it a one run game.

Aybar struck again with a huge home run in the seventh that provided a much needed insurance run. Then it was all down to the bullpen, and unlike game 6, they were up to the task.

* * * * *

Don Zimmer threw out the ceremonial first pitch before the game.

There were 40,000 plus fans last night. We wonder where they were all year.

Now we can relax while watching the WS. Don't really care who wins, though we will probably root for the Rays.

1 comment:

  1. I believe at least half of the devoted Rays fans
    were actually Yankees fans in disguise.
    And somehow the talented David Price, escepially after he struck out Nancy Drew, reminded me strongly of CC Sabathia.