I’ll never take it for granted, this playoff business. Because I remember the dark days, before you were born, young Luke, when we’d go stretches of years without so much as a sniff of that crisp October air. When the regular season ended, we ended, and folks like Rick Miller and Reid Nichols and Scott Cooper and Danny Darwin faded through the door into autumn because that’s what the Red Sox did. We folded up the tents and left the big games to the other teams.
Now we’re through the looking glass, about to make our sixth postseason appearance in seven years. As to how this one will turn out, well… there are people far smarter than I who can show you pie charts and flow charts comparing the Sox and Angels at every position and calculating the odds. But I’ve never been one for numbers. I go by what the heart and the Budweiser tell me, and they see an Angels team that’s united behind the memory of Nick Adenhart, fully cognizant of what a World Series means for their team and the family of their fallen team mate. On the flip side, the Red Sox have seemingly stumbled ass-backward into the playoffs, void of much of the spark and passion that drove them through August and September.
The one thing we do have on our side is history. As the guys who’ve escorted the Angels out of their last few playoff drives, we’re definitely in their heads; the trick is staying there. That means big, big performances from Lester and Beckett. That means clamping down on Anaheim’s running game and their every attempt to take us out early. And that especially means getting the hits. We’ve gotta get the hits.
The key will be summoning the spirits of August 14 in Texas. Remember that night? Against the team we were fighting for the wild card, the Sox coughed up the lead in the bottom of the sixth, then staged an inexplicable comeback in the top of the ninth, highlighted by a bizarre pinch-running effort by Clay Buchholz gone horribly wrong, and a key, go-ahead-run-plating double from V-Mart moments later. That night, a Red Sox offense that had been giving us fits and false starts finally came through big when we needed it most, not only bludgeoning the Rangers’ morale, but also reminding us of a time when no game was out of reach, no matter the score, no matter the inning. That’s the stuff that’s gonna pull us through, baby.
Denton and I will be liveblogging tonight’s ALDS action, so we invite you to make some sandwiches, wear something tight and frilly, and join us on the observation deck. Got an important meeting tomorrow morning? Tell your boss to go f@#k himself. This is the Red Sox in the playoffs, mother. Nothing gets in the way.