The Red Sox are one game away from the World Series. But getting there will require buzzing through Max Scherzer, who’s a pretty formidable opponent when he isn’t primping for a spot in the FOX broadcast booth. It will also require doing some of the “little things” that help teams win championships. Here are some of those things, brought to you courtesy of my hangover, Red Bull Total Zero and Hostess Cherry Pies.
1. Ensure that Stephen Drew goes “missing” sometime in the next 12 hours.
Of course, I’m joking. Because the Law of Averages and Storybook Endings dictates that Drew will come up huge in game six. Remember what his brother Drew did in game six of the 2007 ALCS? Man, it’s practically a lock to happen. So we should just remember that. Because, say, hiring Mike Timlin to somehow incapacitate Drew, tie him in a burlap sack and lock him in a closet in a Chinatown warehouse, ensuring that there is one less automatic out in a line-up that might struggle against Scherzer and needs every hit it can get, would be wrong. Very, very wrong. Right, Mike Timlin? Who might be reading this and have access to chloroform and rope? Maybe?
2. Leverage the Tenth Player.
Yes, I’m talking about the crowd. Because nothing unnerves an opposing team’s players than 35,000 drunk guys named “Sully” (or “Mrs. Sully”) screaming down their necks. Of course, the postseason brings out a different sort of crowd and some peeps who normally don’t get to the games. So it’s important to remind those folks that when your pitcher’s got a 3-2 count on the enemy, you stand your ass up and give that batter “the Full R. Lee Ermey.”
3. Pray for Pre-injury Clay. (And Have Plan B Ready to Roll)
There is no greater enigma wrapped in a riddle than Clay Buchholz. Guy was nails for the first part of the season, then disappeared with an injury that, depending on what you read, was caused by either his infant daughter sleeping on him funny, consuming past-due date Honey Nut Cheerios or an alien probing. Since his return, he’s been pretty good, but if we’re gonna continue to hold the Tigers’ line-up in check, we need Clay to embrace as much of his pre-injury form as he can. At they very least, he should be leveraging his bug-eyed, crazy haired, may-have-just-emerged-from-a-swamp self to freak the shit out of these batters so much they don’t even know what they’re swinging at, much less who or what is throwing at them. Additionally, we don’t want to re-visit game four and let Clay dig us a hole so deep we can’t get out; we’re playing to win and not face Verlander tomorrow. If Clay shows signs of “not having it,” Farrell’s gotta be quick to implement a contingency plan. Hopefully one that involves scantily-clad college girls. Or more of this:
4. Keep the Pressure On Scherzer.
Take pitches. Bunt. Run on him. Give him the finger as soon as you step to the plate. The Tigers are gonna be playing with the desperation of a guy trying to tunnel out of Shawshank with a rusty spoon (or a Rusty Kuntz). Putting some runs on the board early will not only increase probability of an itchy trigger finger on the Detroit bullpen phone, it will also get the crowd fired up and adds a little bit more weight to Detroit’s offense’s shoulders.
5. Hug. Often.
Koji seems to like it. And it works.