I'm still an optimist, you know.
True, for the second night running the Red Sox were held to just four hits. This time they did at least manage to get a run across. Ellsbury even had a two-hit game, the only man on the roster to pull that feat so far this series.
True, Beckett, like Lester, was good tonight, and yet not quite good enough for a win. But both of them kept us in the game.
True, we got into this series riding five straight losses, and after good clobberings by both New York and Toronto, only gained some semblance of composure while playing those mighty, mighty foes, the Cleveland Indians...But we ended strong(ish), yes? And once you've made October, it's a fresh start. The past is the past.
In the more recent past: two quick losses in Anaheim.
Sunday, this all rides on Buchholz. The must-win game, the Red Sox post-season lifeline, is on the pitcher who gave up 11 runs over his last two starts, seven innings total.
Also, it rests on the pitcher who has pitched some good strong starts in the second half of '09, who has a no-hitter on his resume a while back, and who, as a post season player, is an utterly unknown entity.
So, will the Red Sox live to see game four?
It all comes down to this: Which version of Clay Buchholz will turn up at Fenway Park for game three?
And, to this: Will Boston's awe-inspiring offensive power, which was apparently off enjoying a quick vacation at Disneyland while these first two games were going on, reappear when we're back on home turf? Or will it go out for chowder, instead?
It will be a nervous, nervous weekend from here on out.
But Boston ain't throwin' in the towel...
Over the last few years Boston has turned comebacks into something of an art from. 2004 (down 3-0), 2007 (down 3-1)...Even 2008 saw the Olde Town Team come back from the edge with a late rally of awe-inspiring proportions, and miss the World Series by just a hair's breadth. It's just the way we do things around here.
In elimination games over the last seven years, this team is 16-3.
From Terry Francona: "I'd rather not be down 0-2, because the team we're playing is really good. If you put yourself in a position where you make a mistake, it can really cost you. But until they tell us to go home, we'll take our team and keep going."
And so they will.
Look homeward, Red Sox. Fenway is the place you've got to shine.