(Guest Blogging by T.J. Donegan; he can be reached at [email protected])
The Red Sox took the first of a possible three games in Colorado last night 10-5, forcing a do-or-die Game Four for the Rockies tonight.
Dice-K Matsuzaka was not especially dominant, but more than proficient, in shutting down the Rockies through five and a third, giving up only two runs on three hits, taking the bat off his shoulder to drive in two of his own, though, on an RBI single. Again, he seemed to out-think himself and needed over 100 pitches to get through, however, precluding much further action for the Japanese rookie.
The story of the night was the Red Sox offense, however, which knocked out starter Josh Fogg, looking to plug the leak for the Rockies, after he gathered just eight outs. The Sox smacked Fogg around with six earned on 10 hits, all the runs coming in the third inning.
Rookies Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia combined at the top of the order for eight hits, three doubles, and four RBIs (to go along with Dice-K’s two) in 10 at-bats to carry the Sox to a seemingly insurmountable 3-0 series lead.
The Sox would add to their lead after Colorado made it close with five runs in the sixth and seventh. Boston’s four runs in the eighth and ninth provided the breathing room though as the Sox coasted through to their sixth straight postseason win after falling behind 3-1 to Cleveland in the ALCS.
Jon Lester is expected to take the mound tonight to try and finish off the reeling Rockies, just one year after being diagnosed with cancer. It’s a spectacular finish to a tortuous and draining year for the young pitcher, and we all wish him and the Red Sox the best of luck.
Jeff Horrigan talks about the rookies and their contributions last night. Rob Bradford talks about the success of Terry Francona deciding to put Ortiz at first. Steve Buckley said the results of the last three games really should have been obvious going in. Tony Massarotti talks about Jacoby Ellsbury, a unique player for the Red Sox. Michael Silverman says Dice-K has earned the trust of The Nation, and “Dice-K. Game Seven.” doesn’t sound quite as cataclysmic as it might have a month ago. Silverman also talks about Matsuzaka being the first Japanese pitcher to start in the post season.
Dan Shaughnessy says this series feels “more like a coronation than a contest.” Gordon Edes talks about the possibility of a second Red Sox World Series sweep. Bob Ryan says, barring “Divine Payback” for the Sox dumping the curse with a four-game comeback, the Red Sox are back at the top. Jackie MacMullan talks about Ellsbury’s big night in Game Three. Shaughnessy also talks about Lester’s chance to put another chapter in his remarkable story. Nick Cafardo has Dice-K doing it all, playing the game of his life last night.
Jon Couture talks about the Sox dealing with the altitude of Coors field. David Brown has the Sox’s pirate bullpen plundering the World Series trophy. Bill Ballou has a wrap up of last night’s proceedings. Art Davidson says it might be premature, but you might want to anticipate a parade sometime this week. Davidson also talks about the composition of these plucky Rockies that have unfortunately found themselves under the boot of a Red Sox juggernaut. Lenny Megliola has the Sox just one win away. Let me just let you soak that in. One. Win. Away.
Jayson Stark says get your champagne ready. Jim Caple gets things from Colorado’s side of the ball, calling it the worst postseason in baseball history. Excuse me if I don’t shed a tear for the dear, departed excitement of comebacks and curses.
Joe McDonald says, despite it all, it’s been a grand year in Denver for these Rockies. Sean McAdam calls up memories of old boxer Jim Braddock, saying the Sox took the best shot the Rockies could muster and just stood tall and smiled. Jim Donaldson puts on the brakes and reminds us of the 2004 ALCS, saying it ain’t over yet. Jeff Goldberg says different year, field named after a different beer, same result for the rampant Red Sox. Goldberg also talks about the prolific Ellsbury. I love the rook, I think he looks like the superstar kid from The Sandlot, but he was 1-7 with a walk coming into last ni–who am I kidding? I love the guy.
Alex Speier says this all just feels like Commencement day. Troy E. Renck says the carriage’s about to turn back to a pumpkin for the Rockies after the Game Three dismissal by the Red Sox. Horrigan’s notebook talks about Francona’s handling of Papelbon over the season. Michael Vega’s notebook has Carlton Fisk take on the series.
The Pats look to keep their momentum going as they take on a tough defense this afternoon with the Washington Redskins coming to town. New England will try to move to 8-0 and avoid what might be considered a trap game with a certain well-publicized matchup with a certain undefeated defending champion next weekend. You might have heard about that one, I don’t know, it seems to be flying under the radar a bit.
For your links I’ll kick it over to Patriots Daily.
That should wrap it up for me, big night tonight with the Pats and Red Sox. Anyone else planning on coming down with some rare disease for tomorrow morning? WebMD, always there to help a fan get out of work.