24 wins, 9 losses.
That is the Boston Red Sox post-season record since Aaron Boone crushed a Tim Wakefield knuckler- and every heart in Boston- deep into the night back in 2003.
Bedlum in the Bronx. Bitterness in Beantown.
Curse this, curse that, fire Grady Little, hire Terry Francona...
And then go ahead and play playoff baseball at a .730 clip over the next 5 seasons. Ho Hum.
It's becoming a predictable script, the Red Sox finding a way to get that big steal, work that tough walk, or smack that monstrous bomb to secure a win in the post-season.
Down 1-0 on the road to Lackey and the Angels in Game 1, Jason Bay found a way to gear up for a letter-high fastball and crank a 2-run HR in the 6th. From there, Francona managed the matchups, another rookie (Masterson) stepped into his role under playoff scrutiny with ease, the bats tacked on insurance, and LA's home field was gone.
In Game 2, the Sox saw leads of 4-0 and 5-1 disappear, culminating in a game-tying sacrifice fly in the bottom of the 8th. Crowd going nuts, Rally Monkey hopping up and down with utter disregard for the tradition of the game, thunder sticks flapping in the California breeze...
And then JD Drew- yes, THAT JD Drew, he of the 12 at bats since August 17th- steps up and cranks a dinger 400+ feet off baseball's all-time single season saves leader.
Ho-hum. Just another player executing the game plan late in the game. Just another Red Sox team (and one with significant injuries, mind you) looking quite serious about defending their title of a year ago.
I am at a loss for words regarding how simple the post-2003 Red Sox are making October grind-fests look. These are tougher games to win than any in the regular season, and yet Francona's boys seem supremely confidence and comfortable in the October air that used to conjure up stories of curses, The Bambino, and Billy Buck. It's truly hard to believe this is a reality and not some beautiful dream.
I know most people must think Boston sports fans expect these things given the region's success of late, but I never expect things to be easy with the Red Sox.
It's like being a recovering nicotine addict: if you've gone through the hells of a destructive addiction for 19 years but have been clean for 5 years, you still associate anything and everything about smoking with the painful, traumatic 19 years, not the 5 nicotine-free ones.
I still think the Sox are going to find a way to squander a game they should win, but I have to say, after these last 33 post-season games and a .730 win percentage, that vile substance known as loser’s mentality is slowly working it's way out of my system.
Now if only I could do the same thing for Cubs fans...