You got to hand it to the Rays.
All season long the talking heads and know-it all pundits have been gushing about how great the Rays young pitching has been.
Their praise was more than warranted last night.
A year ago, Matt Garza was a relative unknown lost in the shuffle of a powerful Twins rotation behind Johan Santana and Francisco Liriano.
One year later, Matt Garza showed the promise he never displayed with the Twinkies and dominated the defending world champion Boston Red Sox by throwing a two-hit seven-inning masterpiece to send his team to the World Series.
While I will tip my cap to Garza for his shutdown performance, I, as a card carrying member of Red Sox Nation, I must be as honest as I can to my fellow brethren of the nation.
In short, the Red Sox could have easily stolen that game in the late innings.
With one out in the seventh, Terry Francona stupidly called for a hit and run on a 3-2 pitch to David Ortiz.
If you call a hit and run play in the late innings of a close game, you had better make sure that the hitter makes contact.
Instead, Ortiz swung through a high Garza fastball and Pedroia was promptly thrown out at second, ending the inning.
In the eighth, The Sox had the bases loaded with two outs and JD Drew facing hotshot rookie David Price. Drew chose to take a 3-2 fastball that was away from him.
I don't mean to sound bitter here but that pitch was outside. Maybe it nibbled the corner at the last split second, but the fact home plate umpire Brian Gorman hesitated a bit before making the call does nothing to cool my anger.
Then in the ninth with two away, Jason Varitek, the guy who hit a whopping .050 in the series, grounded out to second, in effect ending the Red Sox season and their reign as world champions.
Credit the Red Sox for not giving up once Mike Lowell went down, and Josh Beckett didn't look like himself. They had nothing to prove, having already won two championships in four years.
The Rays have everything to prove. If they don't go all the way, they will be remembered like last year's Patriots, a team that made a remarkable accomplishment only to choke in the end.
As for Jason Varitek, it is not worth the fact that you are great with pitchers enough to keep you around any more. Good look getting a long term deal for big bucks elsewhere.
What also hurts your case is that your agent is one Scott Boras, who coaxed the Red Sox into overpaying for JD Drew two years ago. Theo Epstein is too smart to fall for his trick again. I also can't bear to see you choke in the clutch for the millionth time.
Happy trails Tek, thanks for the memories.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!