Things didn't look good last week, but I was still certain they could overcome a 3-1 deficit. In my mind, the storyline was clear - Cleveland wins if it's a 5 game series, but not 7. The Sox have too much playoff experience and depth to go down in 7. Their Achilles heel has been sustaining a team effort for more than a few games. It's been true all year, and it happened with Cleveland. Great start, but they ran out of gas after the draining loss in Game 2. Once Cleveland got by Papelbon in Game 2, they had a good chance of hanging on to win that game, and that's exactly what happened.
The Sox tend to get hot top-to-bottom for a few games, and then nada. But they ALWAYS bounce back - that's been their saving grace all year long. Too many good bats in the lineup to stay cold too long.
The Sox bats went cold in Games 3 and 4 - it's just the way this team goes. Pitching wasn't really the problem those games - Cleveland was getting all the bounces and the Sox weren't. We were hitting the ball hard and well, but not in the right places. It's not like Cleveland's pitchers were overpowering the hitters. One or two breaks going Boston's way, and they could have won those games. Especially Game 4 when Cleveland got all their runs in 1 inning. If that ball gets by Wakefield to Pedroia, it's a DP, and inning over. Instead, it glances off Wake's glove, all runners are safe, and next thing you know, they've got 7 runs.
In the end, the Sox bats came around when they had to, and it was a laugher the rest of the way. With Beckett pitching so well in Game 5, you knew then that the momentum had shifted back to us, and this time, to stay. Those breaks started working against Cleveland, and at that point, they never had a chance. All I can say is poor Kenny Lofton. He's come close a few times before, and has tasted a lot of bitter losses. He had clutch hits against both the Yankees and Red Sox, but in the end, he made a couple of bonehead moves that would have been game - and Series - killers had things stayed close going into the final innings - esp Game 7.
Well, here come the Rox, and we'll soon know if the long layoff kills their mojo - and if the Sox can keep it going. Gotta play well first 2 games since we lose Ortiz's bat at Coors Field, and who knows how the cold weather and/or snow will effect guys like Beckett. I've got a feeling he'll be slated to pitch 3 times, and that could be the difference. I know what I'll be doing Wednesday night. And if the Series streches out 6 or 7 games, guess where I'll be? Fall VON - yet again, Jeff's timing is impeccable!
Technorati tags: Boston Red Sox, Jon Arnold, World Series