First, my apologies for leaving this place dark too often lately during the most important innings of the season. (It's so much more pleasant without the Yankees, isn't it?) It bugs the hell out of me when I have something to say and no time to say it. It's been all hands on deck at the Globe - funny how that happens when there's an special baseball section to crank out every night - and the freelance (read: paying) stuff has to be the second priority, even though I genuinely enjoy writing the blog more than any of it. I do have a preview of Curt Schilling's big night
here, and I'll do my damnedest to pick up the pace in these parts should the Sox reach the World Series.
So, uh . . . will they?
I get the sense Sox fans are feeling pretty confident about the team's chances, and I can't blame them; we've all seen Schilling, Papi, and the boys have deliver in these backs-to-the-Green Monster situations so many times that it's easy to envision them doing it again. It's not that I don't necessarily share in that confidence. It's just that I had a lot more faith in Schilling back in the days when his fastball eclipsed 89 m.p.h. on a regular basis. Hopefully, his guile and experience in these moments will be enough. (And that includes knowing he's not going to sneak a fastball by Jhonny Peralta.)
It's crucial that they put up a few runs on Fausto Carmona early. Cleveland's 19-game winner is as jittery as he is talented - he's like Derek Lowe with a better fastball. The Sox let him off the hook in the first inning Game 2 - if not for Dustin Pedroia's brutal at-bat, they might have put up a few more runs and Carmona might not have survived into the fifth. They can't afford to waste that opportunity tonight.
Oh, and one more thing before I get back to pecking out the New England college football roundup: Love Tito's decision to play Jacoby Ellsbury - hell, it's two games overdue. I'm an unabashed Coco Crisp fan - he played the best defense I've ever seen by a Red Sox center fielder this season - but he's morphed into Lee Tinsley at the plate. It's time for the kid to get his chance.
So there you go. Play ball. Here's hoping tomorrow brings another game.
(Update, 8:53 p.m.: J.D. Drew? Are you kidding me? I always said that guy was a bargain. Good thing it was a grand slam, too, because I have the feeling the Sox are going to need every one of those runs . . .)
(Update, 11:01 p.m.: . . . or maybe not. The Indians look tight, Eric Wedge is morphing into Mike Hargrove before our eyes, and you have to like the Sox' chances in Game 7. If Dice-K doesn't have it - and I have an odd confidence in him for some reason - wouldn't it be something if Jon Lester ended up being the hero?)