Saturday, October 06, 2007

Dirty Water: Sox Talk With the Thunderstick, Postseason Edition

Here is a post-Manny home run version of Dirty Water, postseason Sox Talk with the Thunderstick.

Thunderstick: What to say that hasn't been said in the last 12 hours about this game? Dice was dicey (HA!). Bullpen was stellar. Tito managed it fantastically. And we've said it about a hundred times, but even with Ortiz's late game heroics, it just doesn't seem like a good idea to walk the guy in order to get to a sure-fire Hall of Famer like Manny.

What a win. We were texting during the game and felt differently about this, but I felt throughout that game that the pressure was mounting on LA, That they needed to win in order have a realistic shot in this series. I felt like the Sox had to be thinking "we've got one and we've got Beckett going for one more--all we need to do is win one of these other ones and if we lose this one, we've got two more shots." But as that game got later and later, you could feel the excitement building knowing that if they could get this win, it would be the heartbreaker that might finish off Anaheim.

So we stand here now the day before game 3 knowing that we are in great shape. Is it a done deal? Well I think we all know that after the Sox pulled off the greatest postseason comeback in sports history in 2004 (or if want to look at it as the Yanks pulling off the biggest choke job), we know anything is possible. Schil in game 3 and Dice in game 5 are no sure things and you can always steal one from Beckett. But we know we've got at worst a stud pitcher in game 4 to give us a chance to win and Anaheim has seen our pen and knows that it doesn't give up runs easily. Nothing to not like about this situation.

The Yanks-Indians game was pretty incredible too. Unbelievably tense and the bugs things was phenomenal to see. While I know a long, 5-game series with lots of extra inning affairs between the Tribe and the Yanks is best for the Sox, I just can't bring myself to physically root for the Yanks once the game is on, so I'll be rooting for the Tribe to take down future Knick (or very possibly Brooklyn Net) Lebron's Yanks as soon as possible. I think a fitting way for Clemens to end his career would be to get lit up a la Tom Glavine in the last game of the season for the Mets. Sure he was a great pitcher, but he's also a douchebag.

dcat: You said it. What's not to feel good about? Barring something we do not even want to begin to consider, we should be lining up our pitching for the ALCS pretty soon. The offense has not been great, but it has been good enough, and it has been timely. Dice did not give us a whole lot, but he did enough to keep us in the game. The fact that the guys are able to play from behind, that they could win in walk off fashion, that we can get four outs from Paps, that we have another legitimate postseason clutch guy like Manny -- that is all the sort of thing that you want to see in October.

Oh -- and as far as "clutch" goes, I realize that there is no metric that shows that "clutch" actually exists. But I think of it this way -- it appears true that Sabrmetrically there is no such thing as clutch in terms of the predictive power to determine if someone will perform in tight situations. But there certainly is a descriptive thing known as clutch -- we may not have been able reliably to predict that Manny would hit a bomb (I do not recall seeing anyone crush a ball like that in some time. It was gone instantly, and everyone in fenway knew it from first contact, including Manny) but we are certain after the fact that he did. And I think we benefited from clutch in two ways -- the decision not to pitch to Papi was clearly the result of his history, and then Manny hit what by any definition was a clutch home run.

Tito always has these guys set to play, and while we have had a lot of turnover, we also have anough guys like Tek and Papi and Manny who were there in 2004. They will maintain the game-at-a-time mindset. Schill will be ready to go tomorrow night. Let's not even let this get back anywhere near fenway. The next time we see the Sox on Landsdowne I want it to be in the ALCS.

It certainly looks like we are going to face the Indians in a rematch of some of the late-90s contests. I know far too well not to count out the Yankees. But this team is a long way from those that knew how to come back from situations like this. They gave us a scare in the second half of the season. They are still very dangerous. But the Indians don't exactly look awed by the pinstripes. And like you I simply cannot root for the Yanks to win even if a five-game series might benefit us tremendously. I think we have to respect the Indians if they polish this off, but nothing about them frightens me except those damned bugs. It figures that Cleveland would have cooties.

As always: Go Sox. And I'd love for the Pats to give the Browns a foreshadowing of Cleveland pain at the hands of a Boston sports team tomorrow. That would be nice. The Browns are working toward respectability. I hope Brady and company go out early tomorrow and take care of business before the sons of Romeo can develop any ideas whatsoever about pulling off an upset.

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