Rough Morning

So we can look at last night’s loss in two ways.

On the one hand, the Sox did pretty well, considering they were playing a game without the real Josh Beckett. They managed to push to 12 innings a contest that should have been over in nine, thanks to a ridiculous failed catch on a Jacoby Ellsbury popup. The bullpen was fantastic all night long, and even Javier Lopez didn’t get tagged as the Angels’ hits found holes to score the eventual winning run.

That’s all true, but it’s hard to make this loss feel any less like a punch in the gut. The Sox now enter tonight’s Game 4 in a must-win position. They cannot go back to Anaheim for a Game 5, where their hopes will rest on the inconsistent pitching of Daisuke Matsuzaka. And they must clinch by finding another way to beat John  Lackey while hoping Jon Lester has another amazing performance in him this series. It can be done, but it doesn’t seem nearly as inevitable. At this early hour of the morning, does it even seem likely?

16 comments… add one

  • Also, while I appreciate Mike Lowell’s willingness and ability to play through pain I can’t even imagine, he’s not helping this team by being out there. It’s time to sit him down.

    Paul SF October 6, 2008, 9:10 am
  • I’m frankly stunned by how bad the Angels have looked in the field. That’s theoretically one of their strengths, but they’ve been terrible all series. The team that’s drilled on “old school fundamentals” makes a lot of errors that are not physical. Torii Hunter getting dusted at 2nd in the 9th? I understand their game is to press, but that wasn’t close, and Hunter should know better given the short left field at Fenway and a decent defender in Bay. These Sox seem to me the far superior team. The intellectual flaws in the Angels construction have really shown. Obviously, in a short series, that’s no guarantee of anything, but I’d be wildly surprised if these Sox don’t take this, regardless of what happens tonight. They’re better. And they may well win the whole shebang. But for all that, they’re a lot less awesome looking than the great Sox teams of 2003-2004, or even last year. But maybe that makes this group more impressive, for their accomplishment. Hmm. We’ll see.

    YF October 6, 2008, 9:32 am
  • Doesn’t DMat have something like an 18-3 record? =P

    Lar October 6, 2008, 9:34 am
  • It’s odd, this Sox team. Because going into the season, there was no reason they couldn’t be better than either the 04 or 07 teams. But Ortiz is clearly still not right, and the injury to Lowell has rendered him all but useless. Beckett’s injuries have also taken a huge weapon off the table.
    I felt a lot more confident last year, and I think a lot of that has to do with the Ortiz-Manny combo, and how unbelievable they were time and again. If Ortiz gets a little hotter, and the balls start bouncing Pedroia’s way again, the whole tenor of this offense changes, and they look and feel like a juggernaut again.
    But I agree with YF that the Angels have looked terrible, and this series has certainly expose that in an unbalanced schedule, 100 wins is not the barometer of greatness it once was.

    Paul SF October 6, 2008, 9:49 am
  • Is it too late to trade for Manny?

    SoxFan October 6, 2008, 9:52 am
  • Ha, I think Jason Bay has done just fine as his replacement. Certainly the Fenway crowd last night was reacting to each Bay at bat as a potential game-ender. So was I.

    Paul SF October 6, 2008, 10:04 am
  • with houdini-dice on the mound tonight, i don’t think the sox have much to worry about…all along i’ve thought that his luck will run out eventually, but maybe it’s not luck…maybe he’s just that good under the pressure of having a few guys on base every inning…his control seems to get better when he really needs it…and, i agree yf, the poor play from the angels is astonishing considering their reputations, team and individual, as well as their manager, who is supposed to be one of the best [sorry sf, i know you don’t agree, but i’m just regurgitating what i’ve heard…he sure looks like connie mack against us]…one of the sf’s predicted [hoped] that hunter would have a bad series…boy did that wish come true…i don’t blame some sf’s for being nervous…they could have delivered the death blow last night and it slipped away…maybe in the back of their minds they realize that no series lead is safe…ask yf’s about that one…and what they did to the yanks in ’04 could very well be done to them someday, despite the odds against that kind of comeback…i still think the sox [as in red] are the best team in the tournament, despite the buzz surrounding a couple of the others…but we’ll see…a healthy beckett in post-season form, may be more critical as the sox advance, and the 7 game format kicks in…disclaimer: no, sox fans, no double-secret whammy jinx stuff here…my yankee hat’s off for these playoffs, and i’m just an interested baseball bystander… i still think you’re gonna win this series, but [surprise!] i’m not gonna root for you ;)

    dc October 6, 2008, 10:20 am
  • I agree Paul. The Sox of 04 were basically impossible to deal with as a lineup, 1-9. Now there are holes, especially given the injury situation. They’re still quite formidable, but with Drew down there’s only 1 big outfield bat, and they have some serious holes. Drew is out, Lowell isn’t full throttle, short is a weakness, and catcher is now all-defense. It’s not so much that Papi-Manny is gone [Youk/Bay is pretty formidable, and Papi is still a danger] as the losses in other places. The strength is the pitching. Lester, Beckett, and Dice, with Papelbon at the end, that makes it real tough, especially for a team that doesn’t make a priority of getting on base.

    YF October 6, 2008, 10:35 am
  • To be fair, Lackey is in a little bit of a rut by his standards…The Sox can win if they bang him up early to get into that depleted bullpen.

    310ToJoba October 6, 2008, 11:34 am
  • A few thoughts, all I have time for at the moment:
    A little late-inning BABIP luck from Lowrie or Pedroia and this was a sweep. On the other hand, a non brain-fart in the second and we’re playing tonight.
    The big issue tonight, as far as I see it, is that both bullpens are gassed, and that adds pressure to Lackey and Lester.
    Last night the Sox didn’t even deserve to be playing in extras, frankly.
    The Sox’ line over the past twenty innings is pretty horrid. Since the four run outburst against Santana, they owe their runs, in effect, to Drew’s clutch homer and Howie Kendrick/Torii Hunter. In the last 20 innings, the Sox have scored four deserved runs. Yesterday their bats were flat-out terrible, and for the better part of Friday they coasted. But for JD Drew we’d be staring at elimination. I am not sure how YF sees the Sox as a “far superior” team, based on the performances. Last night the Sox were basically dominated.

    SF October 6, 2008, 1:45 pm
  • they were no more, or only barely more, dominated than the angels, and i don’t believe 1 game is a reasonable barometer. my evaluation was considered after a comparison of the two teams in general, and while i may have overstated the case slightly, i do believe the sox are the better team. the “but for jd drew we’d be staring at elimination” stuff cuts both ways (as i think you acknowledge). but for mike napoli, the angels are now enjoying an afternoon at lacma. each roster is made up of 25 “but fors.”

    YF October 6, 2008, 3:24 pm
  • the angels are now enjoying an afternoon at lacma
    Nope, the MFA or the Gardner.

    SF October 6, 2008, 3:36 pm
  • nah, they’d ‘ve chartered back to la already. waay ahead of you.

    yf October 6, 2008, 3:44 pm
  • Wouldn’t the Sox win a forfeit tonight, then?

    SF October 6, 2008, 4:20 pm
  • but for mike napoli, the angels lose last night, ergo the series is over, ergo they’d have flown back to cali this a.m., ergo they’d have time for lacma this the afternoon….try to keep up!

    YF October 6, 2008, 4:51 pm
  • Sorry, bad reading on my part. Got it.

    SF October 6, 2008, 5:24 pm

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