I’ll admit, I was no fun to be around last night during game two of the ALDS.
For one thing, I was washing down Hostess Twinkies with Michelob Ultra, meaning that sugar and alcohol spent the better part of the night battling over which could make me a bigger asshole.
For another, I had an unshakable sense that something was going to go wrong for the Sox. That the Rays were folding a bit too easily for them. So every time the TBS announcers reminded me that “DAVID PRICE IS LOCKED IN” and “THE RAYS OFFENSE IS NEVER OUT OF ANY GAME, EVER” I was ready to throw in the proverbial towel. I even went so far as to tweet, sometime around the bottom of the seventh, that the Rays were about to bust the game open and take the lead.
The response, from followers, SG blog readers and Sox fans, was a verbal punch to the nuts. And I deserved it. Because if I learned anything during 2004’s postseason, it’s that you just always keep the faith. You don’t question it. You just keep the faith.
Turns out I had nothing to worry about. The Sox jumped all over David Price early and often, with our offensive onslaught bookended by two Ortiz home runs. And when Lackey got shaky — and he was a whole lot of shaky last night — the Sox pen came in and shut the door, aided and abetted by a couple fantastic double plays that snuffed every offensive spark the Rays tried to conjure. By the time Koji came in to send the Rays packing in the ninth, I was hand-writing apologies to the team for ever doubting them.
Part of the reason I had so much trouble digesting what I was seeing was that this was the game the Sox were supposed to lose. This was David Effing Price on the mound. The can’t miss kid. The guy who we allegedly wanted no part of. The guy the scribes warned us Tampa Bay would pitch twice in a five game series. “This is a guy who can shut you down,” they said, tugging at their lapels. “Get set for a tight, low scoring game.”
But nothing could stop the Red Sox juggernaut. A day after everyone in the line-up had a hit for us, the Sox churned out another 9 hits and 7 runs and basically jumped on Price early and often. The guy finally seemed to find his groove around the six and seventh innings, but by then the damage was done. Christ, even Stephen Drew, hitless for his career against Price, came up huge with a run-scoring triple on a 3-2 count. That’s a guy you’ve got to strike out if you want to win the game.
And man, has Ellsbury been the firestarter in this series or what? Last night he went 3-for-4, stole 2 and scored every time he got on base.
I would have been happy to leave Boston 1-1. 2-0 is better. Especially with Clay Buchholz set to roll Monday. I don’t see the Sox folding anytime soon, and the scariest thing? Mike Napoli hasn’t even found his postseason groove yet.
Maybe he’s saving it for the ALCS…