That’s just too late to start a baseball game. There are no ifs, ands, or buts about it. So, if this seems a little disjointed today, blame the people in Bristol.
I planned on just skipping the game. I knew it would go late. It would go later than I wanted. So, I had planned on just catching a score in the morning. I didn’t want to get roped in. That didn’t exactly go as planned. I was watching the football game, as it got to halftime. I decided that I just had to know what was happening with the Sox. After all, the previous two games had been lopsided for a while. Maybe I could tune in, see that the Sox had a big lead (or were trailing by a bunch) and ignore the rest of the game. So, since I don’t get ESPN, I flicked on the radio. Joe is talking about Adrian Beltre for some reason. After a minute I can figure out that he’s on first base. Then, Joe makes the comment about the Sox finally having a base runner. That doesn’t sound good. But, then he drops the bombshell on me. It’s the top of the seventh, and the Sox have a 1-0 lead! Really? Didn’t Matsuzaka pitch this game? Apparently, he’s matching Hughes zero for zero. Incredible. So, I was done for. I tried to get out of it. I turned it off after the top of the seventh. I figured I’d watch some football, and check back in later. As it turned out, I checked back in at the top of the eighth, and the Sox were losing 2-1. Yup. I blame me too. But, after that, I was in for the long haul. No way I was turning the game off at that point.
As much as I’d like to focus on the five outs the umpires made Papelbon get in the bottom of the ninth, I want to remember Dice-K. He gets murdered around here (Well, not “here” but in local media outlets and other blogs) enough that he should get some credit. It was as big a regular season game as you can have. He went into enemy territory, and pitched his butt off. He went eight innings. Yup, eight innings. (Actually, if Rivera doesn’t blow the save, Dice would have had a complete game.) There is nothing more that you could ask for from a starting pitcher in that situation. A barely out home run by ARod was his only flaw. (As an aside...is it me, or do a lot more Yankees homers land in the first row of the Little League fence in right than visitors homers do?) It will be lost in everything that happened after he left the game, but Dice-K pitched like an ace last night. Good for him.
When can ESPN change the game that they show on Sunday night? I remember it being fairly late. I swear I remember them changing it the Wednesday before the game once. But, they figured this was a key matchup? Was it just the fact that it was Boston-NY, or did they think the Sox are still in the race? Girardi certainly thought they were. If shifting Hughes and making Rivera go more than an inning don’t show that he was scared, I don’t know what does.
Of course, the Sox are still in it. It’s just really hard now. The Sox need to win out, and the Yanks need to lose out. Could it happen? Absolutely. The Sox just need more help from the Blue Jays. It does make me think of all the games the Sox have given away this year. The games that were thiiis close. The games where Theo decided the Sox were out of it. Imagine if the Sox had Kerry Wood in the pen the last month or so, for instance. Imagine the game or two where Jed Lowrie was the best pinch hitter. Better yet, don’t think of that. It’ll probably make you sick. At least it’d better.