Red Sox-Angels: Boston Headed to Tampa Bay for the ALCS

andy millerCorrespondent IOctober 7, 2008

Where do I start…..I have no idea. What an exciting night at Fenway.

*As always, some controversy as to should Lester have been taken out after seven innings. I think he should have been left in there, but you know what? I am not in the dugout (I should be, but am not).

Tito and John Farrell talked to him, and they have better insight into it than any fan watching on TV or at Fenway.  

*It will get lost in the fact the Red Sox won, but what the hell is wrong with Oki and Masterson? Oki comes in, gets two quiet groundballs, then, with two outs, and a two-run lead, walks Mark Teixeira on four pitches. Oki, I am not sure how well you know math, but if you throw it down the middle, and Tex hits it out of the yard, it is only 2-1.

Then Masterson comes in, gets two strikes on Vladdy, then throws four straight pitches way out of the strike zone to the 6'3" power hitter. Then an amazing cross-up between Tek and Masterson (I know he is the captain, and he handles a pitching staff better than anyone ever has in the history of baseball, but Tek and his staff seem to get crossed up more than any other team in MLB), a single to right, and we have a tie game. The eighth inning is a problem for the Sox right now.  

*I know the media loves Mike Scioscia. I will grant anyone that he is a good manager. But the Angels lost last night because of his ego. A speedy man on third (Reggie Willits), one out. Erick Aybar (only 45 K’s in 346 ABs) is at the plate. No reason to squeeze there. But Scioscia has to be the hero, has to be the story. Delcarmen falls behind 2-0. There is a decent chance for a walk, which would bring the extremely tough to double-up Chone Figgins to the plate, although he does strike out more often (80 K’s in 453 AB’s).

Remember, at this moment, with the Angles scoring two gift runs in the eighth; all the momentum was on the Halo's side, and Fenway had a pre-2004 feel to it. You know why the media loves Scioscia? Because he bunts, and he runs, the baserunners take chances, they hit and run, and he does not always play by the book, and old-time media guys love all that stuff.

I hope everyone watched when bad baserunning cost the Angles Game One, and the ego of Mike Scioscia took away Game Four for them. Oh, and his venom towards the third base ump after Tek tagged Willits out? Pathetic and laughable. He was embarrassed because he knew he had screwed up, and he directed his anger towards the third base ump.

I am all for arguing when the situation calls for it, but that was a joke. The guy cries so much, he should manage with a rattle in his right hand. Tito makes some strange pitching moves (letting Oki face Vlad in Game Two was a headscratcher), but he does not try to be the story and does not try to put himself on the front page. And that is why he is a better manager than Scioscia.  

*Well, at least he did not sell out one of his players after the game. “Erick’s a terrific bunter,” Scioscia said afterward. “He feels obviously badly he didn’t get it down. It was a great count for it. Delcarmen throws hard, which is a challenge, but I think it was, you know, a buntable ball. Erick just didn’t get it done, and that happens.” Sorry, I guess he did.

*Memo to TBS: When someone is warming up in the bullpen, SHOW HIM! Tell the viewing audience about it. They come back from commercial for the either inning, and I see some fan waving a Korean flag; that is how I found out that Lester was done and Oki was coming into the game.  

*Chip Carey did everything short of making out with a rally monkey to root for the Angels. Pathetic! 

*People who will be rooting for the Red Sox against the Rays-Red Sox fans.

*People who will be rooting for the Rays-Everyone Else in the Free World. 

*John Lackey is a very good pitcher that performed well in Games One and Four, but he is a meathead. I know anyone can be frustrated after a very tough loss, but he sold out his teammates for not hitting after Game One, then had more to say after Game Four. "[On Sunday] they scored on a pop fly they called a hit, which is a joke," said Lackey, referring to a popup that was misplayed into three runs. "[On Monday], they score on a broken-bat ground ball and a flyball anywhere else in America [except in Fenway Park]. And [Pedroia's] fist-pumping on second like he did something great."

Umm, John, Pedroia's "fly ball" was probably a HR in any other park in America. Fenway parked helped you there. And if you are upset about the popup they called a hit, what you are really doing is throwing your fielders under the bus.

*I may be wearing red-colored glasses, but I think the three days off helps the Red Sox recuperate a little bit, while it only slows the Rays down a little bit. I could be 100 percent wrong on that one,  

*It looks like Dice-K is going to pitch Game One. While that thought has me keeling over in pain, if the Sox can somehow get out of Game One with a win (they will have, and in all likelihood need, a rested bullpen with three days off), Lester and Beckett will be pitching four of the final six games of the series. Nothing official has been announced as of yet, regarding the pitching rotation.  

*It is amazing how far the Red Sox have come, keeping in mind they lost their starting shortstop. I mean, Julio Lugo has been out since mid-July, and the Red Sox, showing amazing resiliency, have stayed in the race and managed to get to the ALCS. Yes, this last point was sarcasm.  

*Gotta think Jeff Bailey makes the ALCS roster and may even get a start against the LH Scott Kazmir. Sorry Gil Velazquez, no ALCS for you.  

*I was very upset that Sean Casey was on the bench and Mark Kotsay got the start at 1B. I was more upset when Kotsay grounded into a double play in the second. But Kotsay more than redeemed himself with a leadoff single in the fifth (he came around to score the first run). He also hit a bullet in the ninth that would have won the game for the Sox if it were not by a great play by Mark Teixeira. He also made a few great plays on popups in the field. 

*Reggie Willits is very lucky that Jason Bay’s double in the ninth hopped into the stands. If that gets by him, and stays in the field of play, it may be a walk-off inside the park HR for Jason Bay.

 *I am not big into the Manny vs. Bay comparisons, but when Lowrie singled to right, weren’t you glad it was Bay trying to score, not Ramirez? And by the way, Jason, do not ever slide head first into home plate again. That is a great way to get injured.