Monday, October 22, 2007

Dirty Water: Sox Talk With the Thunderstick, WORLD SERIES EDITION

After an often-taut seven-game series against the Indians, the Red Sox are returning to the World Series where they'll face the Rockies, which will now be lots of people's new favorite team. Boston, whether everyone who doesn't root for the Sox-Pats-Celtics-BC Eagles-or-hell-even-the-surprising-Bruins likes it or not (and I assume the answer is "not,") is the epicenter of the sporting universe, and that universe revolves around the sun that is Fenway Park. So now that I am back from San Antonio, let's have the first Dirty Water: Sox Talk With the Thunderstick WORLD SERIES EDITION.


Thunderstick: Hell of a ballgame. Obviously anyone who watched the game knows the game was much closer than the final score indicated. It was pretty gut wrenching for the first 7.5 innings. Even when Dusty's home run opened things up in the bottom of 7, Okie put those first two guys on and there were three guys coming up that had a chance to tie the score with one swing of the bat. But Pap knocked it down and the Sox blasted it open in the bottom of 8 and made the 9th pretty easy to breathe. But for 7.5 innings, my stomach was turning.


I'm hearing a lot this morning about how it was the experienced Sox team that won this thing because when the moments got big, they knew how to handle it. I certainly think that was the case in game 5 with Beckett being brilliant and in game 6 with Schilling getting through some early trouble to settle in and go 7 strong. But look at the key players last night--Dice, Okie, Pap, Dusty, Ellsbury, Youk. None of these guys other than Youk has any playoff experience and his is limited to sitting on the bench during the 2004 run and going out three straight to the White Sox in 2005. Not exactly a ton of experience from those guys, but they all came up big in their own way last night. Cleveland on the other side had a few guys play well--most notably Victor Martinez. But the story of this series for them is that Carmona, Sebathia, Hafner and Sizemore didn't really show up at all. You can win a couple games with your big guns not doing much (Papi and Manny barely got a hit between them in games 6 and 7) but it's tough to win an ALCS. I think the Tribe was flying high after game 4, but Beckett came in in game 5 and shut them down and all off a sudden they looked up and they were at Fenway and they were thinking "uh oh" and with everyone run the Sox scored and every out they made, that stage got bigger and bigger and the Tribe didn't have guys who were quite ready to handle that yet.


dcat: As always seems to be the case with the Sox, there were lots of tense moments last night, including an excruciating fifth-through-seventh before we broke it open. But in those last three games we outscored the Indians by, I believe, 30-5, which reveals both an ability to turn it on and the strength of our rotation and bullpen. All props to the Indians, they played a great series, and they have a great few years ahead when I hope we can beat them some more. My suspicion is that these were the two best teams in baseball this year, which will be confirmed if the Sox take care of the Rockies in the manner that I expect them to.


I would disagree with you on the experience argument to at least some degree. Yes, our productivity last night was not only predominantly from guys who were not there in 2004, but disproportionately came from our rookie troika of Dice-Dusty-Okie-Jacoby. But I think that experience helps in more ways than simply having been there before and knowing what to do. I also believe that the experience factor especially permeates the clubhouse. So while those guys had never been there in any meaningful way, Youks' getting to watch in 2004 notwithstanding, they got to draw their example from Schill and Papi and Manny and Tek and Waker and Timlin.


As for the Rockies, of course they provide a formidable challenge, and 21 of 22 is awesome, and they have made a run so far through the postseason unlike any team in the Wild-Card era. And of course they are capable of beating the Red Sox. And naturally the guys will take them seriously. And blah blah blah. But I still believe that the Sox are the best team in baseball, I believe that after the series with Cleveland the Sox are playoff tempered. I believe the Sox are much more talented. Naturally that could be setting myself up for a fall, but to hell with it -- Sox in five. And if it does go five, the odds are that I might take a crazy, whirlwind, epic road trip to Denver even though I have to be back by Tuesday and head to the DC area Wednesaday for a conference.


Go Sox!!!

8 comments:

Sports betting said...

It's been ages since i posted here. Been sick, busy etc. There are not many games left this season. It has had it's up's and down's. Meet some new Reds i adore. Meet David Ross again. Knew of him when was a Dodger. Missed Sean Casey a lot. Reds then got rid of Austin Kerns. Seen the Reds 9 times this year at Busch Stadium. Saw the Phillies 3 times. Seen The Astros 3 times. Gonna see the Astros for my 4th time September 13th. Gonna go to games in 2 weeks to see Brian Giles.No idea who will make the playoffs.First Choice Reds. Second Choice Phillies. 3RD Astros. 4TH Choice Padres. Padres just because of Brian Giles, Geoff Blum and Trevor Hoffmann. I hope to at least attend one playoff game. But if the Cards don't make it won't go to any. Because i can't afford to travel. But if i had to choose. I'd rather the Reds win the Central and just have to watch them on tv.Seeing them on tv would be better than them not making the playoffs at all.
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dcat said...

dcat readers -- read and behold and just think: someone like this is willing to let you pay him, I assume, for his betting expertise. Don't wait! After all, we've missed the insights and wit of "sports betting" lo these many months and years, as "it's been ages" since he's been able to post. You know, sickness and what have you.

I just don't have the heart to tell him that barring Superman-like capabilities to change the rotation of the earth and thus turn back time, he's not making that Astros game and his playoff picks don't exactly inspire confidence in the link to follow.

Oh well.

dcat

Rich said...

The good news for you, my friend, is that I'm not going to hate you nearly as much as I did in '04 should your silly little band of Beantown brothers pull this one out.

Playoff pitching brother, if people don't get it now they never will.

dcat said...

You're beginning to get it, Holmes: Don't hate, celebrate!

dcat

Rich said...

I've gotten it since the turn of the milennium when a certain team began throwing millions of dollars at pitchers in their late 30s and early 40s. Jim Rome had perhaps the best line of all time shortly after the 2004 ALCS: "When Kevin Brown shows up to Yankee Stadium to collect his paycheck, he better be wearing a ski mask and have a gun."

Good luck, enjoy the series.

dcat said...

By the way -- you realize that I was a track teammates of Hal Steinbrenner at Williams, one of the two sons who has taken effective control from the Old Man, also a Williams alum. (I have several great Steinbrenner stories that I should share some day.)

dcat

Rich said...

Clearly some of your doucheness rubbed off on him. Nice goin'.

dcat said...

I'm telling you -- some great stories. Some that even put Steinbrenner in a much better light than you would ever imagine. And of course a couple that confirm your worst suspicions.

dcat