It’s time to put away the McDonald’s Oakley’s/swimsuit combo and the army helmet and start preparing for the ALCS showdown. This series has the recipe of being one of the best of all-time, but nowhere close to the Sox winning 4 straight to beat the Skankees Yankees in 2004, en route to winning it all. Last night, Justin Verlander pitched a gem for the Tigers to punch their ticket to the ALCS, where they’ll battle it out with the Red Sox. Two high-powered offenses facing off against two very talented pitching staffs? I’d like to reserve a seat for one, please – on my couch that is. There ain’t no way in hell I’m forking over $150+ for standing-room only tickets. I’m still just an intern 😦
A lot of people had their concerns about the Red Sox going into the series against Tampa. Not only do those games typically come down to the final innings (as we saw in 3 out of the 4 games), but analysts were predicting the Sox to be sluggish offensively, due to five days of rest. Boy, did the they make those “experts” eat their own words. The Sox put up 12 runs, on 14 hits in the first game to win 12-2. They followed that up by pounding out 7 more runs, on 11 hits to win game two 7-4. If that’s sluggish, then I’m going out on a date with Kate Upton tonight (please, whoever is up in the sky (Santa); make this come true. I promise to be a nice boy for the rest of my life).
The only blemish on an overall good series was when manager John Farrell brought in Franklin Morales (my “are you shitting me?” moment) to start the 8th. After Tazawa got Evan Longoria to pop out to third and Will Myers to strike out to end the 7th – the two bats with the most pop in that lineup – I was for sure he’d come back out in the 8th, but nooooo, Farrell had other plans. Morales ended up walking James Loney to start the inning, and giving up a bunt-single to Desmond Jennings right after. Sam Fuld, who pinch ran for Loney, ended up scoring the go ahead run later that inning. I wanted to give Farrell “the look” (you all know that look, so don’t ask which one) before, during, and after Morales’s performance.
As for the Tigers, I didn’t watch much of their series because, well, they aren’t the Red Sox. However, a colleague of mine told me they weren’t swinging the bats too well (I bet you the “experts” said they were going to come out hot). I’m just hoping they don’t come alive during this series, especially at Fenway. Reigning triple-crown winner Miguel Cabrera could have a field day with the Green Monster, and slugger Prince Fielder can make any field look like a little league field. The Sox pitching staff just needs to execute their pitches, which they’ve shown they can do, and try not to leave anything up in the zone. As for handling Miggy; I don’t know what to tell you. I wouldn’t doubt there’s a video out there somewhere of him pulling a slider, low-and-away, from a right-handed pitcher, and putting it 415 feet. That guy is unbelievable.
I guess the only thing I can do now is sit and watch at home, while stroking my…playoff beard (AHA, GOTCHA!) that I’m in the process of growing. It’ll never be on the level of Pedey’s, Napoli’s, Salty’s, or Gomes (way to ruin the “eeee” sounding names, bud) beautiful forests of facial hair, but it’ll do. Being the ex-baseball player I am, and seeing how superstitious we (baseball players) are, I remembered the exact three outfits I wore on the days the Sox won (in order, too). You better believe I’ll be sporting those for the first three games, sweat-stains and all. Go Sox!