Well, ok. Really five more. But, one step at a time.
What a game last night. If you were smart, you went to bed when the Sox were up 4-0, and missed all the tense drama at the end. But, you missed a heckova ballgame.
The most important part of the game last night? Pedroia getting a hit in the first. Just to remind the team that they could hit Sanchez. I’m sure they all knew they could. But, if they don’t get a hit in the first, or the second….it gets a “here we go again” feel to it. Maybe the Sox start expanding the strike zone like they did in game one. Maybe everything’s different. But that one hit took the pressure off. For a first inning single, it was huge.
What a job by the kid last night. I know that nobody seems to be able to stop talking about the maturity of Bogaerts. But it’s still impressive every time it shows up. When he started that key double play in the eighth, he couldn’t have looked calmer. He took his time and gave Pedroia a perfect throw. There was no rush in his movements. The situation didn’t seem to bother him. Nor did it when he came to bat in the ninth. He put a great at-bat together when it was really needed. The best part was after he was almost called out on the check swing. He knew what to do with his new life. The exact same thing he did with the old one. He wasn’t rattled. He didn’t try to do too much with the gift. He took a pitch just low for ball four. Fantastic.
By the way, did you know that he speaks four languages?
What happened after the walk was one of the confusing parts for me. Farrell sent Will Middlebrooks in to pinch run. I didn’t realize that was a big upgrade speed-wise. Even if Middlebrooks is faster, he’s not as fast as Berry, right? Why not put the speed demon in representing a key insurance run? Could have just taken him right out and put Middlebrooks in defensively. An odd choice, I thought.
Can anything else be said about Koji Uehara? How does a guy with his track record become such a surprise? I mean, he was always good. Heck, the Rangers had to add someone to Chris Davis in order to get a package big enough to trade for him. He had 13 saves for Baltimore a few years ago. But, he was third on the depth chart for closer with the Sox. They only let him give it a try out of desperation. Then he goes out and dominates like nobody’s done since Eckersley. Sometimes when you’re putting a team together, it helps to be lucky.
So, now the Sox sit one win away from the World Series. The next game is at home, and they have their best pitcher on the mound. Not too shabby. I know Clay didn’t look great last time out. But, I trust that that was an oddity. The one shaky start that skews the averages up. He has too much history this year of putting it all together.
Once again it’ll be important for the Sox to score early. Leyland’s already shown this series that he’s prone to panic. Trailing in an elimination game would only magnify that.
Let’s just close it out.