As tonight's ALCS Game One reached the bottom of the 7th, I decided to live-blog the remainder of the game. I've never done this before, so I thought it would be fun to give it a shot. I didn't edit anything after the fact, except to correct my mistake of confusing Buck Martinez with Dave Campbell. I should have realized that Campbell works for ESPN.
10:47 - Carl Crawford leads off the Rays' bottom of the 7th with their first hit of the game. Down by one run, I'm sure he's going to try to make something happen on the bases. You know Cliff Floyd isn't going to be bunting.
10:49 - Floyd makes that a moot point, driving a single to left-center that sends Crawford to third. First and third and no one out for the Rays. Dioner Navarro is the batter. They need to push across this run, but, of course, not necessarily settle for just that.
10:51 - Navarro's down 1-2. He really needs to make contact in this at bat. Crawford will certainly score on most anything. I'm wrong. Navarro hits a short fly to left and Crawford holds.
10:53 - Gabe Gross is the batter. I doubt he's going to squeeze. Crawford needs to gamble here, if he gets the chance. Matsusaka still looks tough.
10:56 - 3-2 count on Gross. Buck Martinez is calling for them to start Floyd from first. I'm not so sure. He doesn't run, and Gross strikes out, chasing ball four on the second pitch in a row. Really poor at bat in such a situation.
10:57 - Jason Bartlett is the batter, with the Rays in jeopardy of squandering this opportunity. If they do, they're going to have to face the strength of the Red Sox bullpen, and you know Papelbon will be ready to pitch more than an inning.
10:59 - Bartlett grounds out to short. Tampa Bay doesn't score.
11:02 - Top of the 8th. Shields is still out there. Ellsbury bounces back to the box for the first out.
11:03 - Shields started this inning at 94 pitches. Matsuzaka has thrown 107.
11:04 - Pedroia lines a single up the middle. It looks like that's going to be the end of the night for Shields. He pitched a tremendous game. If not for a fluke check swing double by Mark Kotsay, he'd be pitching scoreless ball as well.
11:06 - J.P. Howell is the new pitcher, a lefthander to face David Ortiz. With J.D. Drew two batters away, I'm sure the plan is for him to face at least three batters.
11:08 - Pedroia steals second. Navarro had no chance. Howell's a lefty, he needs to do a better job of holding a runner than that.
11:10 - Howell walks Ortiz. This has to drive a manager crazy, when his lefty specialist gives a free pass to a lefty. It looks like I'm right. He's leaving Howell in to face Youkilis, and, I'm sure, Drew after him.
11:13 - Youkilis hits a foul pop down the right-field line, into the Rays bullpen. Gross didn't come close to catching it, but the guys in the pen need to do a better job of getting out of the way of their guy.
11:15 - Youkilis hits a liner to left that the best left fielder in the game should have caught, but instead plays it into a run scoring double. 2-0 Red Sox. I made two similar, but tougher, plays than this tonight in my softball game.
11:16 - Maddon pulls Howell for Grant Balfour. He faced two batters and retired neither of them, so he can't take any further chances.
11:18 - Seeing Matsuzaka on the bench, he doesn't look like he's coming out of the game. I haven't heard anything about anyone warming up in the bullpen either.
11:19 - Balfour just drilled J.D. Drew with his first pitch, probably trying to intimidate him right away. Obviously not trying to hit him. Bases are loaded with only one out.
11:20 - Jason Bay is the batter. They just showed the reaction of the Red Sox bench at the beaning of Drew. Of course, Dustin Pedroia looked ready to do battle. They can't really think he was trying to hit him?
11:22 - Full count on Bay. Nowhere to put him. Balfour bears down and blows a fastball by him for strike three. Two outs.
11:23 - Mark Kotsay is the batter. Balfour needs to get them out of this jam down by only two runs. Otherwise, it's over.
11:25 - Kotsay pops it up on the infield. Evan Longoria makes the play. Inning over. Balfour does his job.
11:28 - Top of the order in the bottom of the 8th for the Rays. Dice-K is still out there to face Iwamura leading off.
11:29 - Iwamura singles to left. That has to be the end of Dice-K's night. Nope, he's still in there, but Sox pitching coach John Farrell is on the phone to the bullpen.
11:31 - Dice-K throws a pitch to the backstop. Has to be a wild pitch, even though it didn't bounce and Varitek got his glove on it.
11:32 - B.J. Upton hits a rocket to third. Youkilis gets his glove on it and knocks it down, but has no play. Iwamura wisely holds at second. First and second, none out. Mike Lowell makes this play.
11:33 - That's the end of Dice-K's night. Lefty Hideki Okajima is coming on to face the left-handed Carlos Pena. Similar situation to what the Rays faced in the top of the 8th. Two of the next three (actually three of the next four) batters are left-handed, although they'll probably pinch-hit for Floyd against a lefty, but I doubt Okajima will still be in at that point.
11:37 - Pena gets the green light on a 3-0 pitch, gets a pitch to hit, but hit's a soft-liner to right that J.D. Drew catches for the first out. Buck Martinez was just saying that Maddon wouldn't give Pena the green light on 3-0 with Evan Longoria up next. I have to say that I agree that he shouldn't have, but he's a gambler. This time it didn't pay off.
11:40 - Justin Masterson on to face Longoria. Let's see if the troubles he faced the other night against the Angels carry over. He is a rookie, after all. Of course, so is Longoria.
11:42 - Longoria grounds into a double play. The Rays squander another opportunity. That's it. I'm convinced the Red Sox are going to win the World Series. I should stop watching right now.
11:45 - Top of the 9th. I'm still here. Jed Lowrie leads off against Balfour.
11:47 - Lowrie flies out to shallow center field. One out.
11:48 - Papelbon is warming up in the Sox bullpen. Jason Varitek is the batter. It's interesting that the Red Sox have three catchers on their postseason roster for both the ALDS and ALCS. This has to be so that they can pinch hit for Varitek, then pinch hit for Kevin Cash, and still have David Ross to catch. Essentially, when it comes to late in the game, they're going to treat the catcher position like a National League pitcher.
11:50 - Varitek flies out to deep center field. Sometimes pitchers get lucky and hit the ball well too. I'll give Varitek credit for being like a good-hitting pitcher, though he's no Micah Owings.
11:52 - Maddon pulls Balfour for the rookie David Price. There are two outs and nobody on, but it is the 9th inning of a 2-0 game in the ALCS, so he must have serious confidence in Price.
11:53 - Ellsbury hits a soft liner to left that Crawford catches for the third out.
11:55 - Papelbon is on for the bottom of the 9th. He's poised to break the record for most career postseason IP without allowing a run. He's pitched 19 2/3 consecutive scoreless innings.
11:57 - Carl Crawford leads off. Papelbon throws 3 of 4 pitches past him for a strikeout. One out. I guess this ties the record.
11:59 - Cliff Floyd is the batter. They show the goon Jonny Gomes on the bench. Is he on the Rays postseason roster? I don't think so.
12:01 - Floyd pops out to Youkilis in foul territory. Two out.
12:02 - Dioner Navarro is the batter. He strikes out, for the final out. Papelbon does his trademark redneck rain dance. Sox lead the series 1-0.
12:06 - There's a Julio Lugo sighting as the camera shows the Red Sox walking down the runway to the locker room. Jonny Gomes is not on the Rays postseason roster, but I'm sure he's ready to get in the fray and sucker punch someone in case of a brawl.
12:08 - I just missed what I'm sure was a riveting Craig Sager interview of Kevin Youkilis. I simply wasn't paying attention.
12:10 - Could there possibly be a worse studio team than one that includes Ernie Johnson, Dennis Eckersley and Harold Reynolds? Poor Cal Ripken.
12:12 - Well, that's all for me. I'm ready to call it a night. I'm not really looking forward to the EJ-hosted post-game show.
MLB Game Picks - Monday: July 28, 2014
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