Thursday, October 25, 2007

Dirty Water: Sox Talk With the Thunderstick: Game Two of the World Series Edition

Thunderstick: I think that first game confirmed a lot about what we thought might happen in this series. Beckett was awesome. Sox lineup is hot. Rockies look to be cooled off from the layoff. I think the talent is better on the Sox. I also think experience mattered last night--the Sox went in cool and collected and did what they had to. The Rockies couldn't get the last out when they had the Sox at 2 outs all night. Hell, in that 5th inning, that dude had 2 outs and nobody on and the next thing you knew the Sox had batted around and scored 7 runs and there were still 2 outs on the board. So clearly, if you want to draw up a way that game 1 should start that was it--decisive and demoralizing.

That said, it is still one game. It doesn't matter if you win 13-1 and then lose 1-0, you are still going to Denver tied at a game a piece. I still feel like I don't know this Rockies team at all. Helton is the only guy that comes up that I think gives the Rox a good chance to get a hit. I know Holliday was great all year, but I didn't watch the Rox and my only impressions were that he looked overmatched last night (granted it was against Beckett). I guess if you were an NL person and heard all year how great ARod or Haffner were and then you saw them in the playoffs with the performances they had lately, you'd also think "I don't get it--what's the big deal."

I'm always the kind of person that says a series really doesn't start until the home team loses, although I've abandonded that in the days of the 2-3-2 format because it's so hard for the home team to win those three games at home in the middle that I don't think it's the end of the world for the home team to geek one of the first two. So normally I wouldn't think tonight would be that big for the Rox, but now I think it is. They can't afford to lose tonight. Some might say "well if they lose 4-3, it'll show they are on their way back, have shaken off the rust, etc..." I don't buy that at all because Beckett is now 4-0 in this postseason and shows no signs of letting up. I think you have to assume that game 5 is a Sox win at this point, which means that if the Rox lose this one tonight, knowing they'll likely lose game 5, you might as well consider them down 3-0 and it'll be all but over. I know an older Schilling, Dice and LEster aren't the most intimidating pitchers to come to the mound, but you have to think the Sox win at least 2 of the 5 games with them on the mound, which means if the Rox want to win, they better start trying to avoid those two losses tonight.

I think if the Sox win tonight, you have two potential outcomes for the Rox. The best the Rox can hope for is to get that one home win a la the Mets in 2000 against the Yanks to make their home fans feel good that after waiting to see a world series game, they could also see one world series game wins. The other scenario is a 4 game sweep that they are never in like the Cards in 04 or the Padres when they played the Yanks that one year. The Sox had great pitching, worked counts and got big hits. The Rox have to show they can counter that tonight with something. It'll be interesting to see if this Ubaldo dude is up to the task--from what I understand about him, he's got a cannon but doesn't exactly have great command. He better hope to find his command tonight because the Sox pummel guys that don't have great command.

dcat: Not much to disagree with in your assessment of last night's game one. That was one of the dullest Sox blowouts I have ever watched. They made it clear that they were the better team, at least last night, and now I hope they have forgotten all about last night as they prepare for the second game. We saw that stat last night -- before the Sox' blowout, the largest game one margin of victory in World Series history had been 11 runs. Both teams went on to lose the series. That actually means nothing, except to say that there is no real momentum involved in even the most overwhelming win.

But where we might have momentum is with the bats. Our offense has been astounding the last four games. We have put double digits up in the run column and have been winning games by huge margins. Basically, in the last few games we have been running roughshod in a leave-no-doubts-who-is-the-best-team sort of way. If that keeps up it will take pressure off the pitching staff.

But none of that means anything tonight if we lose game two, and I know that enough guys in that locker room are aware of this fact. What i loved about last night's game, and what I have loved about the last four games, is that we have not had to rely on Manny and Papi to carry us. Dusty has come up big the last few games, and Youkilis has probably been as much of a postseason MVP as Beckett on a day-to-day basis. This is partially why I am not going to let myself get too concerned about the fact that we will lose one of the Lowell-Youk-Papi troika during the games in Colorado. Tito will make sure they all are worked into the lineup, but we don't rely on one guy to get it done. I'd love all three to be in the games. But if you were to tell me that rather than lose one to the absence of the DH we'd, God forbid, lose one to injury, would you wring your hands in despair? Me neither.

At this time of year there is not much new that we ask for from game to game. I'd like to see us continue our hitting streak. I hope Schill is in his postseason form, I hope the bullpen has made something of the rest they've gotten. Rinse, wash repeat. This is what I'll want on Saturday and Sunday too. What I think we lack right now is the sense of moral crusade or historical comeuppance. This is the brave new post-2004 world in which we live. We want the Red Sox to win it all because any fan wants their team to win it all, and we love the Sox unconditionally. But there is little subtext or metanarrative within which to couch this postseason run. And that's good. It is nice for the angst in this series to be the same sort of angst we would feel for the Celtics or Pats, if, because it's the Red Sox, a bit more intense.

I see no need to reconsider my belief that the Red Sox are going to win this series comfortably, if not easily. Schill will give us six strong and we'll score our share of runs. That will be enough. Sox 8 Rockies 4.


GoodLiberal said...

I keep telling everyone that Pedroia is the real power guy.

And I also keep telling them to show World Series games at a decent hour for British viewers. Instead, they sent me an NFL game. Oh well.

dcat said...

Well, they sent you a Dolphins game, anyway.

Do you even get the games at all, or are you internet-reliant? Whenever I am there I never am at a place where I have the option to see games.

Go Sox!!


Thunderstick said...

Dolphins games don't count as NFL games. I hope they aren't charging full price over in London for that game.

dcat said...

I believe they are charging full price, but each fan gets a free steak and kidney pie, which will likely be better than the game.