2008 ALDS: Game 4 and Wrap

It was a great game, it was a great series. I had a great view of home plate, and I totally lost my voice, cheering our Sox on to victory. I want to give the Angels credit for their pitching, which was excellent for the most part. A few bad plays in the field, on the basepaths, and at the plate basically cost them this series. I almost feel kind of bad for them, and wonder if they’ll be able to be this good again any time soon. I say “almost” because they’re such sore losers. But on to the game:

  • The suicide squeeze cost Los Angeles game 4. They had seized the momentum, and had speedy Reggie Willits on third base with one out. That’s almost a guaranteed run, yet they tried this squeeze bunt anyway. The demoralized fans went wild on this one, and it gave the Sox back their confidence. Scioscia totally overthought this one. I don’t think it’s a fireable offense, but it was a bad, bad call.
  • The Red Sox defense was simply awesome in this one, while the Angels’ seemed uninspired. Mark Kotsay made an incredible back-handed, running grab on a flare over first base and a great sliding grab in foul territory for another key out, making use of all of his outfielder skills; Dustin Pedroia had a great barehanded grab to foil a rally. On the flip side, Erick Aybar missed a fieldable grounder at short, Chone Figgins made a throwing error to second base and Willits dove headlong at a ball which he should have stopped for a single, that went for a double. Jason Bay would go on to score the game-winner from second base.
  • Justin Masterson became tentative after coming into the game. Even this steely rookie’s nerves were shaken at the thought of this being the ALDS clincher. His stride, arm speed and mechanics weren’t very aggressive a few pitches in, and it showed in the results. He did make a great pitch to Vladimir Guerrero, however, which should be noted.
  • Jed Lowrie hung in there and eked out the walkoff single, but Lester and Bay should get the credit for this victory.

A few points to take away from this Series:

Jon Lester was not just good, but awesome. One unearned run in this series, and it wasn’t just luck. He’s regained all of his weight and strength back, and he is pounding that fastball in there at 95-96 mph with regularity. How many lefties can you name who can do that and mix in a sharp 76 mph curve and good changeup? Everyone says, oh, the Angels didn’t hit. Well, Lester was the biggest reason why they couldn’t.

Having J.D. Drew play also provided a huge boost offensively and defensively for us. I say this because  with Mike Lowell being deactivated, Kevin Youkilis will continue play at third, and first base will be manned by some combination of Mark Kotsay and Sean Casey. If Drew is not healthy, that leaves us very thin on reserves. Rosterwise, the Sox would have picked up an extra reliever anyway for this 7-game series, but I’d rather have Lowell on the roster than Gil Velazquez (no offense).

I like what I saw from the bullpen this series. They will be well-rested and ready to go against the Rays, and we’ll need them. The Sox made the plays when it counted, but this series was much closer than it looked. I suspect with Lowell out that the ALCS will also be REALLY close and come down to pitching and defense. Whichever team executes to their best ability will come out on top. Preview to come soon!

BTW, in case you missed it, another hilarious quote from Pedey.


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