They sent a cancer survivor out there, and there was doubt that Jon Lester would even be on the postseason roster, remember? Heck, they weren’t even supposed to be here, after trailing the Indians three games to one in the ALCS. Then the Red Sox just decided to not lose anymore. Not even once. Not a nibble.
They sent a cancer survivor out there, and there was doubt that Jon Lester would even be on the postseason roster, remember?
Heck, they weren’t even supposed to be here, after trailing the Indians three games to one in the ALCS. Then the Red Sox just decided to not lose anymore. Not even once. Not a nibble.
The last game, on a calm Colorado night, they did what’s become a curious habit of theirs, closing out the World Series in the least amount of time that rules allow, like they had something better to do.
The Red Sox are World Champs again. Let me know when this stuff gets boring. The Rockies went down ingloriously, but they are a young bunch, and very new to this.
“They did what they could to stay in this,” said Jonathan Papelbon, who recorded a five-out save. But nothing the Rockies could do was enough.
It ended 4-3 when Papelbon fanned pinch-hitter Seth Smith. But moments before, when another pinch-hitter, Jamie Carroll, ripped into a Papelbon fastball, it looked like the ball might go out. That’s how 50,000 in Coors Field and millions of viewers saw it. Not Papelbon.
“I didn’t think it was out. Maybe off the ball or something like that.”
But Jacoby Ellsbury plucked it from the fence.
“I couldn’t breathe in that last inning,” manager Terry Francona said.
It’s a sublime, almost surreal time in Boston sports right now, with two unbeaten football teams, but in October the cherry on the sundae will always be what the Red Sox accomplished last night. World Champs. Say it again. Hell, shout it out, like you did last night after the final out. Take the day off. Go pick out a parade spot.
“This team has a lot of heart, it works hard,” a weepy Jason Varitek said minutes after the final out. “It works so hard.”
If you had prior knowledge that the Red Sox would get five shutout innings from Jon Lester, you would have been ecstatic, right? Well, it happened. But you get greedy at times like this. You wanted more from Lester, more from the offense, so he’d have more than a 2-0 lead. What you really wanted was LESS baseball. That is, you wanted this to end in four games. It’s been a long, long season, so why not a short World Series?
It moved closer to that when Mike Lowell’s homer made it 3-0 in the seventh inning. And if you knew a Bobby Kielty pinch homer would get them even closer, you should take your clairvoyant prowess to Wall Street.
Kielty’s home run was the difference. How impossibly delicious is that?
As for Lowell, the MVP of the Series, it’s his second time being a world champ.
“This is a little different. With the Marlins, we didn’t expect to win,” Lowell said. Different story in Boston. “If you don’t win a championship, it’s a disappointment”
Lester’s performance (he hadn’t pitched since the Cleveland series) took his teammates’ breath away.
“It was phenomenal,” Varitek said. “We were in some tough spots and he made some pitches and stayed aggressive. To have that kind of performance, it was a testament to him.”
“I’m so proud of Jon Lester,” Francona said.
After Boston’s 10-5 win in Game 3, Rockies manager Clint Hurdle had the no-team-has-ever-come-back-from-0-3 fact thrown in his face. “OK,” he said, “so it looks like we’re in ground-breaking territory.”
They wound up road kill. At least they didn’t have to face Josh Beckett tonight. The Rockies could stay home and play with the kids.
What are we to make of these Red Sox? No star has risen so quickly as Jacoby Ellsbury’s and to think that a) he was playing in Portland, Maine, this summer and b) he had to hold his breath as to whether he’d be on the postseason roster. “When I was in Double A I was just trying to get to Triple A,” Ellsbury said. “When I was in Triple A I was just trying to get a September call-up.”
Becoming a World Series MVP-type candidate wasn’t in Ellsbury’s big dream. But surely he dreamed of some day playing first-string outfield for the Red Sox. Next year, kid. This year, Dustin Pedroia became the rookie sensation. “I just wanted to make the ball club,” he said. Ellsbury has taken the baton from Pedroia.
Hard to believe they’re rookies, isn’t it? “I know they are, but they’re not,” is the way Terry Francona put it. We know what he means.
If you’ve been blown away by what the Red Sox have done this season, the framework and the commitment to the future, the immediate future, is in place. Teams that win championships aren’t much different than the have-nots; they all have off-season work to either keep or restore the faith of their fans.
About 5,000 Red Sox fans stayed at the ball park last night long after the final out, then went out to raise some hell on Blake Street.
Theo Epstein will be back on the job as soon as his champagne-stained clothes come back from the cleaners. Pitching is paramount for every team. The Red Sox are pretty well set up. Losing Curt Schilling won’t be a problem because Clay Buchholz may throw 235 innings next season. A front of the rotation of Josh Beckett, Buchholz, Daisuke Matsuzaka and Lester would be the envy of many a team. Beckett, because at 27 he’s already big-game proven, the other three because of unlimited potential. And Lester gives them a lefty to break things up.
Papelbon, Hideki Okajima and Manny Delcarmen are young and strong arms in the bullpen. Varitek should have at least two quality years left handling the pitchers. Manny Ramirez has a year left. Kevin Youkilis is a keeper. J.D. Drew can only have a better year.
The sticky part of the off-season will be the Lowell deal, or no deal. Seems like a no-brainer this morning, doesn’t it?
“I’m on cloud nine,” Lowell said. “I’ve never hidden my wish to stay (in Boston).”
So we’ll see with Lowell, and some others. But forget that for now.
Just know the Red Sox are set up for your viewing pleasure for summers down the road. Summers, and Octobers too.
Lenny Megliola is a Daily News columnist. His e-mail is email@example.com.