Thursday, September 17, 2009

i was on the right track anyway.

following the Patriots stunning late-game win on Monday Night Football, i was convinced that Boston sports would do its very best to kill me with a Matsuzaka start the following evening. i was half right. just a day early in my fears.

the sports gods took pity on me after that Patriots heart attack special, possessing Dice's body & sparing me from a complete cardiac shutdown. their good graces did not come cheap, though, and i paid a steep price for them *Wednesday* night instead.

make no mistake. i didn't think Paul Byrd's start would be a picnic. but when we tied the game late at 7, following an uncharacteristic lack of hustle from The Cap'n when a ball got away, allowing the likes of Vlad to go first-to-third, well... let's just say i may have frowned a bit. (i still love him though.) (oops. tangent.)

anyway, we tied the game. then the Angels scored again to take a one-run lead. (i may have proclaimed the game over here.) then the Sox came to the plate, bottom of the ninth, made two quick outs (i may have been pointing out that i "called it" at this time, i'm not proud of it but in my defense, i was getting deliriously tired)...

...and then, all hell broke loose. Papi drew a four-pitch walk & Gathright came in to run for him. what should have been a JD Drew force out ended up as both runners safe. i howled in ridicule at Tito's insanity for putting Jed Lowrie in as a pinch hitter--and was promptly reminded why i don't get paid to make those decisions when he somehow singled & bases were loaded.

Tito decided to mess with my head *again* by putting Nick Green at the plate* where, thanks to an abnormal showing of discipline, he managed to *not* swing at every pitch. down two swinging strikes (of course--and yes, i did say he would end the game striking out, fine, whatever, shoot me), he held off on Ball One, fouled off about a million (ok, three. it felt like forever though.) pitches before taking Ball Two, got a check-swing likely gifted to him (it was *really* close and i'm still not sure he held up, but that's thankfully not my job to determine) and then was given a walk on a ball i am all but *certain* was a low strike, to walk in the tying run. (i was kinda right about him striking out, but the umps didn't agree with me--and who am i to look a gift horse in the mouth?)

let me stop right here for a minute. i am the first to roll my eyes with considerable exaggeration at Mike Scioscia's all-too-frequent protests to calls made in a game (and no, not just against the Sox) (lest you think i am being biased) (and no, i don't have any ill feelings toward the Angels at all, unlike many Sox fans), but he did have one--and possibly two--valid complaints in that at-bat. i fully acknowledge that. (though it's hard to take him seriously when he argues several times per game, especially about things like Mike Lowell *falling* in front of the catcher after an ugly awkward hack at a ball & saying that he was interfering with Napoli throwing out the runner--the guy was FALLING. i digress.) but...BUT! there is no way that i am going to say i don't want my team to win. (barring cheating. and poor umpiring cannot be blamed on the Sox, sorry.) i'm not ashamed to admit that. ::shrugs::

back to the game.

Alex Gonzalez. he who is known for the glove-work & not so much the stuff at the plate (how many times can we say this, i wonder, when he's done nothing but prove this notion silly...?) somehow manages, with two strikes against him, to drop a soft fly ball in left field. now i have to say, if i'm Mike Scioscia, i may be a little perturbed with the umpiring, but there comes a point when you have concede that it's out of your control, even if your argument holds water. what i would be LIVID about is what happened after that soft flay ball that i am not certain wouldn't have been caught had Juan Rivera not BJ-Upton'd it. i mean, not even a dive. he just watched it fall right in front of him. i was stunned. i know you have to be ripping mad that your opponent just tied the game on some questionable umpiring but HELLO!! why wouldn't you do your damnedest after that to catch that ball, end the inning, and give your team a shot to win in extra frames?! it's one thing for the officials to give away an out & quite another to do it to yourself.

and there i sat, eyes struggling to stay open as i watched the unthinkable occur on my tv, heart pounding, adrenaline surging, in complete disbelief that the Sox just pulled off a small ball, ninth inning, two out, two strike victory. if that's not playoff-caliber ball, i can't imagine what is.

and now the Sox sit pretty with a seven-game win streak (won eight of their last ten) with 18 games left to go in the regular season & Josh Beckett taking the mound tonight, after looking much more like himself in his last outing. here are the Sox, picking a prime time to get fired up as the calendar threatens to flip to October do-or-die time. (although, as my brother so aptly pointed out on Facebook this morning, i'm not sure it's a good thing that we've given the Angels even more blood lust for the ALDS. i have a healthy respect for them, no matter what the history books say about the Angels playing the Sox in the post season.)**

i cannot even wrap my feeble brain around what my two Boston sports teams have pulled off in the last few days. all i can do is hold on for the ride. i live for this...even though i swear its goal is ultimately to kill me!

*i read this morning, on Twitter, that Green said he was fighting for his life with a dead right leg that he hadn't told anyone about. Nearly collapsed couple times. and also that he said "I almost collapsed every single swing, and almost collapsed walking down to first, and almost collapsed when I was leading off." which just makes that whole turn of events even more mind-boggling to me.

**sorry about all the parentheses.

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