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Tuesday, September 29, 2020

The Perfect Post-Season

The postseason begins and the Sox look to come out strong in the Division Series.  One of the great things about the last 40 years of Boston Red Sox baseball is the number of memorable games that are available to us with a good outcome.  One thing I realized is that the Sox have at least one win in every possible postseason game with the exception of game 7 of the World Series.

ALDS Game 1 - 1998 - Sox 11 at Indians 3 - There are moments when you know you’ve picked the right job.  My boss and I had adjoining offices and he had suggested a late lunch to watch this game at a local bar. While we waited to get going the game started and we had our respective radios on.  I realized he was a bit ahead of me for some reason when he started screaming when Mo Vaughn crushed his first inning three run homer.  Pedro took over from there while Nomar and later Mo again homered as part of a 7 RBI day.  After 7 strong from Pedro it was Jim Corsi to close it out.

ALDS Game 2 - 2008 - Sox 7 at Angels 5 - This was the night of my cousin’s rehearsal dinner in Arizona.  The restaurant had dodgy cell reception so another cousin and I went crazy trying to get details.  We learned Jason Bay had homered as the Sox took a 4-0 first inning lead.  The Angels clawed back to tie it after 8 but JD Drew crushed a homer to center to plate pinch runner Coco Crisp and my parents, brother, cousin and I probably woke up half the hotel as we roared in their room. Jonathan Papelbon closed it out.  For a guy with a reputation as not being clutch Drew had some huge hits in his Sox career (this one, the $14 million grand
slam, the walk off double against Tampa in the LCS in 2008).

ALDS Game 3 - 2003 - A’s 1 at Sox 3 - This was a wild one.  I was working at ARAMARK at Boston University and a co-worker was working in the A’s owner’s box.  He told me they went crazy when Miguel Tejada inexplicably stopped running and was called out on a play where he felt he had been interfered with.  Later they smashed glasses when Jason Varitek blocked the plate and tagged out Eric Byrnes about 50 feet from home plate.  Finally, Trot Nixon pinch hit for Gabe Kapler and my father said “Nixon against Harden? DIdn’t you say Harden was similar to Clemens, that’s a good matchup for Trot” just as Trot hit a walk off homer into the bleachers.  This was the day I realized that “Dirty Water” would work just fine if the Sox ever won a World Series at Fenway and the normally reserved fellow in the seat next to me was jumping up and down on his seat (section 15, row 11, seat 17) as we went bonkers.

ALDS Game 4 - 1999 - Indians 7 at Sox 23 - “What did I just see?” That’s the question my friend (who gave up tickets to see Dokken at the Hampton Casino Ball Room) asked me and it was a fair question.  John Valentin equaled Mo Vaughn’s club record with 7 RBI, Mike Stanley had 5 hits, Jason Varitek scored 5 runs, Trot drove in 5.  Kent Mercker started and only made it 1.2 innings but Rich Garces picked up the win with 2.1 innings of relief.  Tim Wakefield came in after the Sox built a 15-2 lead after 4 and struggled and Fenway was church quiet.  Eventually John Wasdin got out of it and Rheal Cormier went 3.1 to return something vaguely resembling normalcy to a wild night.

ALDS Game 5 - 2003 - Sox 4 at A’s 3 - Barry Zito and Pedro Martinez started this one and for 3 1/2 innings singles by Johnny Damon and Jose Guillen was all that was on the board.  After a two out walk to Scott Hatteberg it was Guillen delivering an RBI double (but getting thrown out at third)for a 1-0 lead.  Zito held the lead through the fifth but in the sixth the Sox potent offense got going.  Varitek homered to tie it and a walk to Damon and an HBP by Todd Walker brought Manny Ramirez to the plate and his 3 run dinger put the Sox in front.  Damien Jackson came in as a defensive replacement for Walker and the A’s got a run to make it 4-2.  In the 7th with two outs Jermaine Dye singled to center but was thrown out at second Nomar to third baseman Bill Mueller alertly covering second.  This was necessary because Damon and Jackson had one of the most fierce and terrifying collisions I’ve ever seen on a baseball field.  The A’s made it 4-3 in the 8th but Mike Timlin and Alan Embree got the Sox through it.  In the 9th Scott Williamson couldn’t find the plate walking the first two hitters and Grady Little summoned game 3 starter Derek Lowe for a little relief work.  A sacrifice bunt put men on second and third but Lowe struck out pinch hitter Adam Melhuse then after a walk he got Terrence Long looking to send the Sox to the ALCS.  Like Drew (see game 2 above) for a guy with a reputation as being a “mental midget” Derek Lowe had some huge moments in the post-season for the Sox.

Jose Needs an Absurd Ukulele Concert Posted: September 29, 2020 at 10:21 AM | 4 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. villageidiom Posted: September 29, 2020 at 01:57 PM (#5979565)
Strong disagree with ALDS Game 5. I'm sure you didn't want to go back-to-back on 1999, but come on. I will not let Troy O'Leary be disrespected a third time. Pedro coming in to pitch 6 no-hit innings of relief, against the Indians' offensive juggernaut? To cap off having been down 0-2 in a best-of-five? That was one of the best *games* I ever saw.

I was at the Game 4, sitting against the back wall of the bleachers under/behind the scoreboard, and thus higher than the top of the monster. It messed with my perspective on every HR to left, as I kept thinking it had to be a double - and then it didn't bounce back! Oh, what a glorious game.
   2. Jose Needs an Absurd Ukulele Concert Posted: September 29, 2020 at 02:04 PM (#5979569)
Yeah, I wanted to mix that up a bit. I think enough has been written about Pedro in 1999 that I figured I'd just roll with 2003.
   3. Nasty Nate Posted: September 29, 2020 at 06:17 PM (#5979672)
ALDS Game 1 - 1998
I believe this mercifully ended a 13-game franchise postseason losing streak.
   4. villageidiom Posted: September 29, 2020 at 08:01 PM (#5979691)
The other thing about the Game 4 was the WEEI callers incessantly ripping the team ahead of the game for having a no-name has-been starting an elimination game. "There's no way we're winning a game with Kent Mercker starting."

Then a few years later: "There's no way we're winning a game with John Burkett starting."

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