The Kids are Alright

Evan BrunellFeatured ColumnistOctober 2, 2008

The kids were the story last night.

Yeah, Jason Bay paced the offensive game with a pivotal 2-run home run in his playoff debut, definitely the story of the night. But…

Anyone want to bet that without Jon Lester, Jacoby Ellsbury and Justin Masterson, we’re not sitting on a one-game lead in the ALDS?

Lester is quickly becoming one of the best pitchers in the game at age 24. Facing what people deemed an impossible task, Lester went seven strong, whiffing seven, walking one, giving up six hits and one (unearned) run.

What more can you say about Jon Lester? I think the tagline on Lester’s page (hmm, that Fire Brand of the American League dude is a smartie) says it all… “He beat cancer. He beat the Rox for the World Series. He threw a no-hitter. What’s next… Hall of Fame?”

Well, it’s too early to debate his Hall of Fame credentials, but he’s certainly on the way with an obscene 27-8 career record, leading the American League with two complete game shutouts, fourth in the league with a 3.21 ERA.

Josh Beckett may be the Pitcher of Autumn, but Jon Lester’s quickly joining him in the cadre of “Big Game Pitchers.” Anyone feel nauseous when Lester picks up the ball in a big start? No? Thought so.

Jacoby… Jacoby. What more can you say? The kid was back to his 2007 speed demon ways. Three hits, one run, two stolen bases. Think Mike Scioscia’s finger’s really sore from pointing it all over his face?

After his performance and his September line of .340/.367/.521, I think it’s safe to say that he enjoys the big stage, the bright lights. His horrendous slump will quickly be forgotten if he keeps this up. Especially if he keeps making those highlight reel catches.

With Lester exiting the game, the Angels had to feel some relief and readiness to go get the win. Uh, not so fast. Despite giving up two hits, the Angels never looked quite comfortable against Masterson. And then Papelbon came in and whiffed three batters.

The demon is on the back of the Angels. The Red Sox are playing solid ball, carefree and confident in their abilities. As someone who remembers pre-2004 with too much clarity, it’s a great feeling to have. Yeah, we’re banged up. But we’re still winning.

Now we’re going to have a day off and Daisuke Matsuzaka will ready to go against Ervin Santana. Now this is a game I’m worried about, and it’s obvious why. The one saving grace, I suppose, is that Dice-K is 9-0 on the road and he’s not facing a club known for its plate discipline. I like our chances.

Anyone care to disagree with me?