With one win, it all changed.
Monday morning, the Red Sox were underdogs. They were banged up, out of sorts, missing a slugger, missing their ace, facing a team that had destroyed them all season long. The line of doubters ran long.
Tuesday morning, the Red Sox were favorites. Battle-tested, experienced, a powerhouse, doing what it took to win against a team who last beat them in the playoffs before some of these players were even born.
It all changed for a reason — the Sox are in control. Had they lost Monday, tonight would have been a must-win. Instead, the pressure’s all on Los Angeheim, in danger of going down 0-2 with Josh Beckett seemingly ready to go in Game 3. Tonight’s the time when Daisuke Matsuzaka must buckle down, when the Red Sox must remind Ervin Santana that he’s the only Angel pitcher with a loss against them this season.
So far, all the teams who have won the first games of their series have won the second, as well. Keeping that trend going would put the Red Sox in fine position heading to Fenway. Fine position indeed.
Lineups and stats courtesy the Globe:
1. Jacoby Ellsbury, CF (.000/.000,/000, 3 at-bats)
2. Dustin Pedroia, 2B (.000/.000/.000, 3 ab)
3. David Ortiz, DH (.556/.636/1.111, 9 ab)
4. Kevin Youkilis, 3B (.500/.667/.500, 2 ab)
5. J.D. Drew, RF (.286/.286/.429, 7 ab)
6. Jason Bay, LF (Has never faced Santana)
7. Mark Kotsay, 1B (.389/.450/.500, 18 ab)
8. Jason Varitek, C (.000/.111/.000), 8 ab)
9. Alex Cora, SS (.667/.750/1.667. 3 ab)
— Daisuke Matsuzaka, SP
That’s a bottom third to be ashamed of.
No word on the Angels lineup yet.