Game 3 of the 2004 American League Championship Series
Anyone remember what happened during that game? Let’s review, shall we? 2004 Sox fans were riding high. The team that lost the 2003 ALCS was improved and ready to battle. The Red Sox cruised into the playoffs. During the season, they often looked like the best team in baseball. They hardly broke a sweat as they dismantled the Angels in the ALDS. They swept them away in walk-off fashion. Then they came to New York. They were hot. They were powerful. They were favored to win the series. Then, they crashed. In game 1, their supposed advantage laid an absolute egg. The pitching let them down. Curt Schilling gave up six runs in only three innings. The Sox bats were held in check until they tried to come back. But, the damage was done. The Sox had another ace ready for game 2. But, despite that fact, bad luck, and bad breaks, and inept hitting put the Sox down 0-2 in the series. But, they were coming home. Things would be betting in Game 3. Damon would find his groove. He had to, right? Speedy free agent outfielders can’t be lousy forever. What happened? The Sox were smothered in game 3. That’s not even the right word for it. Never had it been clearer that the Sox were just overmatched. That they were cursed. I can’t remember a time when any team looked less likely to even keep a game close. Of course, we all know the significance of game 3 of the 2004 ALCS. It was the last game the Red Sox lost that postseason.
The switch was turned the very next night, by a stolen base of all things. Suddenly, the hitters remembered how to hit. Overnight it seemed. Suddenly the pitchers remembered how to pitch. Just like that. The Sox went from a team that couldn’t do anything right to a team that could do nothing wrong. When they needed the wins, they got four. Once they got going, even the National League champions were powerless to stop them. The team went from being painful to watch to the greatest joy in the history of Boston sports. Overnight. Sometimes you need to hit bottom to make the climb to the top more enjoyable.
3 is for game 3 of the 2004 ALCS.