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Home » 2008 PostseasonOctober 2008 » Punched


ALDS Game 4: October 6, 2008
Angels 2 L: Scot Shields (0-1) 1-3
WinRed Sox 3 H: Hideki Okajima (2)
BS: Justin Masterson (1)
W: Manny Delcarmen (1-0)
Highlights: By the end of the evening Craig Sager’s orange windowpane blazer and Gustav Klimt-like mosaic tie were doused in champagne. The bubbly did not wash away the suit’s gaudiness, just as the Angels’ regular season dominance did not do away with their disappointing playoff showing. Mike Scioscia’s affected approach to managing a game failed him in a short series once again. He called for the suicide squeeze in the top of the ninth and was stymied by Erick Aybar’s lack of contact and Jason Varitek’s pursuit of Reggie Willits.

I talk to the wrong people about sports sometimes. The day after the Red Sox punched their ticket to the ALCS I chatted with a woman who said that “the clubhouse celebration thing was getting old.” (She is also the one who said “Too bad the Patriots didn’t win the Super Bowl” after the Celtics garnered their 17th championship.)

Well, it’s not old to Jason Bay. At the major league level, Bay has never played for a team with a winning record. In 2003 he had a cup of coffee with the Padres who ended up 64-98 and was traded to the Pirates along with Oliver Perez for Brian Giles. The Bucs had 75 wins that year, the closest they were to .500 since 1999. Typically the Pittsburgh club would have as many wins as the Red Sox had losses.

Sean Casey would beg to differ. Casey toiled from 1997 to 2006 before he had his first game in October. That year he played a bigger role on the Tigers than he now does for the Red Sox, but who can forget his takedown of James Shields in the regular season skirmish back in June? Casey is there to keep the team on an even keel, but even he celebrated like a rookie on Monday night.

Neither is it a banal happening for Jed Lowrie. A mere three years ago Lowrie was drafted by Boston as a compensatory pick for losing Orland Cabrera to free agency and already he has all but supplanted Julio Lugo at short. While he was in the minor leagues his organization went to the playoffs twice and earned their second championship title of the new millenium. He was ecstatic, and those players who had been there before were just as joyful, if not moreso.

Although his name does not appear as the game winner, Jon Lester pitched masterfully over seven innings, keeping the slim two-run margin granted him secure. The pair of runs came in the fifth following four innings of futility. Waiver trade acquisition Mark Kotsay led off with a single to center and advanced to third on Jason Varitek’s batted ball that evaded the usually sure-handed Mark Teixeira.

Kotsay scored on a ground ball off the bat of Jacoby Ellsbury. Varitek crossed the dish on Dustin Pedroia’s first hit of the series: a laser (or maybe a rocket?) off the left field wall.

Had Lester not surpassed the 100-pitch threshold to end the seventh he may have been on the mound for the eighth. Instead the rejuvenated Hideki Okajima induced two quick ground ball outs before walking the lethal Teixeira on four pitches. Justin Masterson had previously demonstrated remarkable aplomb on the hill, but knowing that his success or failure meant advancing seemed to perturb him.

Masterson issued a walk to Vladimir Guerrero, a man who will swing a pitch “from nose to toes,” as Buck Martinez would say. Both Teixeira and Guerrero scored on Torii Hunter’s liner to right, tying the game and silencing Fenway’s taunts of “Torii! Torii! Torii!”

Weary of extra inning games, the Red Sox mounted their comeback in the final inning of regulation. Fittingly, it was two relative newcomers to the team and to the playoffs who teamed up to tally the series-winning run.

Bay smacked a ground-rule double to right. Fenway crowds are keen, of course: the hit elicited a cheer but then a mild groan as it bounded into the stands. Had the ball rolled around the bend in the right field fence Bay could have had an inside-the-park homer to clinch the series.

Lowrie’s seeing-eye single past the diving Howie Kendrick precipitated that raucous, euphoric clamor that I will never tire of hearing.

Looking forward to the ALCS, there have been rumors of roster moves. Mike Timlin, one of Terry Francona’s favorite toys, will probably be added to the ALCS roster. When I think of Timlin, I think of all the things parents parrot when warning their kids about anything and everything:

  • How many times do we have to tell you, be careful when playing with Timlin?
  • Who left out the Timlin and didn’t put it away? The Maddons’ kids always put their Timlins away.
  • The more you touch your Timlin, the more it will hurt.
  • The Timlin contains small parts and is a choking hazard.
  • How many times have I told you not to run around the house with your Timlin?
  • You got Timlin all over your nice clothes!

Bring on the Rays and their inane dome and mundane cowbells; the Red Sox won’t pull any punches.


Loved the Timlin stuff. Hate Timlin on the roster.

And last night shows why we didn't want Timlin on the roster. That umpire was terrible, however.

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