On a night of possible celebration, the crowd quietly filed out of Fenway Park, somber, moody. The Red Sox had just lost to the Minnesota Twins by a score of 5-4, and shortly before that the Yankees, using a lineup that rested most of their regular players, bested the Kazmir-led Tampa Bay Devil Rays 3-1. Such a lost opportunity. Now, with three games left, the magic number remains at 2. The Sox will have to win two of the three remaining games with the Twins to assure themselves of first place in the AL East. With the Yankees playing the Baltimore Orioles in Maryland, it would be a stretch NOT to think that they will win their remaining games, so tonight looms large for the Red Sox and Red Sox Nation and Red Sox International.
Last night, David Ortiz sure did his part to ensure a victory. He went 4 for 4 with a tater, and was on base all game. But the Twins' bullpen was tough when it counted most, even when the Sox had the bases loaded with only one out in a one run game in the 9th inning. But Minnesota closer Joe Nathan proved up to the task, to the dismay of the Fenway Faithful, by striking out Jason Varitek and Kevin Youkilis. Beckett was subpar, for him, allowing 5 runs and 10 hits in his 6 innings for his last start of the regular season. Each team collected 12 hits, but the Twins crossed the plate one more time than did the good guys.
Tonight, it's Matsuzaka versus Slowey, who has a record of 4-0 and an ERA in his last three starts of just 1.50. But this is a must game for the team we love. If they (and don't even think it!) lose tonight, they'd have to win the last two of the season to guarantee themselves a first place blue ribbon finish. Shades of 40 years ago, when the Red Sox had to win their last 2 games of the season against these same Twins to remain in first place. Those '67 "Cardiac Kids," named so because they ALWAYS found a way to come back and win games, DID win those last two, and went on to the World Series, taking the Cardinals as far as they could go before succumbing to the superior pitching of one of the all-time bests, Bob Gibson.
So it's onward and upward (I hope) for our 2007 Boston Red Sox. Daisuke, we never needed you as much as we do tonight. As always, thanks for reading my words, my thoughts, my ramblings, and I hope those idle ramblings make sense. Please comment and tell me when they don't. I count on you! And click on the title of this post for more on the game that SHOULD have been at the Fens last night. Take care. Always and forever.
If you're reading this early on Friday morning, turn on NBC or NBCHD and watch the Today Show at 7am, for it's Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band, ready to start you on a great weekend. It does not get any better!! THEY ARE THE BEST BAND THAT EVER WAS, OR EVER WILL BE. They'll be performing shortly before 8:30am, to the delight of hundreds at 30ROCK and millions of happy people watching their televisions.