Monday, October 13, 2008

That's really not what I was expecting.

Jon Lester went up against Matt Garza in game 3 of the ALCS at Fenway this afternoon. Lester had been dominant in his two playoff appearances against the Angels, while Garza hadn't won a game since August.

So what happened? Lester was terrible, not quite matching the depths of Josh Beckett's appearance on Saturday, but bad nonetheless. Lester gave up five runs in 5.2 innings (4 earned). Most of the damage came in the 3rd, when B.J. Upton hit a three run homer and Evan Longoria added a solo shot. The Woonsocket Rocket, Rocco Baldelli, hit another three-run bomb off Paul Byrd (in his "let's save the bullpen" mode) and the Rays ended up winning 9-1.

Obviously, if Beckett and Lester can't get it done, the Sox have no chance of advancing. Going down 2-1 is hardly a disaster, but I don't think you want to tempt fate by going down 3-1 again and having to pull another comeback like we had in 2004 and 2007. Tomorrow's starter, Tim Wakefield cannot be Shakey Wakey, and the Sox offense has to wake up.

Since I had to work today I followed the game on the radio. Joe Castiglione and Dale Arnold kept making the point that David Ortiz kept fouling off balls he normally crushes. I don't know if Papi's wrist is giving him trouble or he's pressing or what, but he needs to be the Big Papi we all know and love in the middle of the offense.

One last interesting piece of information. With his RBI single in the 5th inning of game 4 against the Phillies, Manny is now 7 for 8 with runners in scoring position in the playoffs. Unbelievable.

Game 4 tomorrow. Go Sox!


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