clayhair

After last night’s abomination, the Red Sox need to score early tonight. And I don’t even mean six runs in the first (although I wouldn’t turn ‘em down). I just want one. Maybe two. Anything to get that game one monkey off our backs.

Because if we go, say, one or two or three innings without scoring–or, God forbid, getting a hit against Scherzer, something that is certainly possible–the guys will start pressing and swinging madly and set us up to go 0-2 on home turf. Which is not how we want to start the ALCS.

In the wake of the game one embarrassment, everyone’s got the Tigers. ESPN.com’s poll shows 75% of readers expect Detroit to take the series. Vegas oddsmakers have the Sox snuffed out like cheap cigars and we haven’t even faced Scherzer and Verlander yet. The Sox were clear underdogs going in. Now we’ve been reduced to David trying to dodge Goliath’s boot.

But a win tonight, against Scherzer, in a game Detroit has probably already penciled in a “W” for, changes everything. It evens the series. It shows we can hang with their best. It gives our guys the boost they need after the most spirit-crushing loss of the year. It gives us momentum as we head toward three games in Verlanderville.

Of course, that means they’re going to have to hit. Watching Drew and Middlebrooks and Napoli flail away at the plate like professional fart catchers has been, to put it mildly, dispiriting. If shaking things up means sitting Napoli, who has been about as effective at the plate this postseason as a hatrack, then I’m fine with it.

In addition, we all know Clay is fantastic; tonight, he’ll have to be perfect. Or as close to perfect as a pitcher can be to allow his struggling offense to get things done against the likely 2013 Cy Young winner.

It all sounds panicky. And I know that I should know better. If we learned anything from 2004, it’s that you always keep the faith, and the only “must-win” game is an elimination game.

But I’m still calling game two a must-win.