ALCS Game 5: Beckett wills the Series back to Boston


Once again, C.C. Sabathia was off his game, giving up 10 hits over his six innings of work. But the Red Sox didn’t make him pay for the 14 baserunners he allowed. In fact, he left the game with the score still just 3-1. He allowed baserunners in every inning except the sixth, and hit two batters. The Indians induced two double plays and had lots of lucky breaks; the Manny Ramirez almost-a-home-run single, the Mike Lowell almost-a-double down the third base line. Both of those balls missed by mere inches. Even if Cleveland were to make it past Boston, they’re in serious trouble if their ace is pitching like this.

That Manny ball that hit off the top of the wall is just bad luck, but Manny not getting at least a triple out of that is just bad baseball. After his comments the day before, and getting thrown out at home in the first, it just makes him look like a fool. I just hope that the Series doesn’t come down to a foolish play.

Josh BeckettThe Red Sox were playing sloppy, uninspired ball while Josh Beckett was ringing up Indians all night long. Beckett is making the leap from merely excellent to legendary. His eight innings last night were astonishing, even better than his first start against the Angels. On the road, down 3 games to 1, everything on the line, and Beckett delivers. What a stud. Even the Indians’ one run came on a bloop double by Grady Sizemore, a single, and a double play ball by Travis Hafner. The Indians tried everything, even bringing in an ex-girlfriend of Beckett’s to sing the at the stretch, but it didn’t matter. With the start, Beckett now boasts a 1.17 ERA this postseason in three starts. He’s allowed just 13 hits and fanned 26 in 23 innings of work, and walked 1. Yes, that’s right- ONE guy. Add in his postseason from 2003, and you’re looking at probably the best postseason pitcher EVER (so far).

So that’s the story; Beckett just put the Red Sox on his back and carried them back to Boston for game 6. Never mind the score. All that came after, and is why I think we can still take this Series. Let me explain:

In the top of the 8th, everything started to fall apart for the Cleveland Indians. Rafael Perez came out of the bullpen and walked J.D. Drew after getting ahead 0-2. After a Jason Varitek flyball, Coco Crisp grounded to Perez, who bounced a throw to second, making both runners safe. This is where an inexperienced team like the Indians implodes. Pesky Julio Lugo drag bunts for a base hit, and we have ’em loaded. Eric Wedge calls in Tom Mastny, but it’s too late. A passed ball by Victor Martinez allows one run to score, and Dustin Pedroia walks to load the bases again. Not to be outdone, Kevin Youkilis walks too, forcing home a run. And now you got David Ortiz at the plate, bases loaded, one out, and Manny on deck. Heart attack for Mastny. He manages to get out the inning with just one more run, but I think this kind of inning is psychologically damaging in your last home game, going to Fenway, where the fans rock the rafters.

If we can win the next one, Jake Westbrook hasn’t got a prayer. I’m calling it right now, game 7, Rafael Betancourt is gonna be the losing pitcher. Write it down. I think the Indians are ready to fall, they just need a little push. And we’re looking to Curt Schilling to give it to them.

NEWS FLASH: Jerry Remy said on the radio this morning that nothing’s confirmed yet, but don’t be surprised if you see Jacoby Ellsbury in centerfield tomorrow night! Maybe he proved last night to Tito that he won’t freak out if he actually got some playing time.

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3 Responses to ALCS Game 5: Beckett wills the Series back to Boston

  1. Pat says:

    I agree that game 6 is THE game. I feel confident, but at the same time, scared to death.

    These post season situations are stragely parallel with past ones with Beckett facing elimination with a 1-3 deficit, and with Shilling taking the load for game six down 3-2. Both situation (Beckett with the Marlins, and Shilling with the sox ’04) turned out well for the pitcher. I can only pray that history repeats itself, and Shilling gives us enough.

    I wonder what your thoughts are on Ellsbury in game six? I would give Ellsbury the edge over Coco batting, just from my gut feeling, but Coco has a lot more experience in ceterfield Fenway, and good defense is so critical in these post season games. I am glad I don’t have to make the descision.

  2. FireDannyAinge says:

    I hope you are right. The players are getting pretty tired of the way they were treated in Ohio (from the sound of it) and the whole way this series was going that I expect them to win.

    http://firedannyainge.wordpress.com

    NO WAY Schilling messes up his could be last game in Fenway. Or at least I hope he doesn’t.

  3. donchoi says:

    Yeah, I read that thing about Cleveland fans shouting at Youk and other players, saying how they hate them, etc. etc. That’s just low-class drunkards talking.

    Myself, I haven’t had good experiences in Cleveland. I stayed over there one night and had my car window smashed in and stuff taken, including my leftover pizza from Chicago.. Stinkin’ hungry thieves.

    Pat, I actually like Ellsbury for tomorrow’s game. I’d expect Tito to stick with Drew against the righty Carmona. Crisp is definitely in a bad rut, and Jacoby is weak on low and inside pitches, not low and away where Carmona likes to work to lefties. Crisp can always be available off the bench should we need him as a defensive replacement. And if we have a lead in the 7th, you can expect him to be in center.

    If Ellsbury bats leadoff (which I doubt), maybe we could either drop Pedroia down or even play Cora to begin, because Pedey wasn’t too good against Fausto last time out.

    The main issue to me though is Schilling. It all rests on him. I don’t expect a Beckett-like performance, but if he can give us six innings and hold them to two or three runs, we might be able to pull this one out. He’ll need all the run support we can muster, so Ellsbury might be a healthy risk.

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