Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Game 126: Johnny Dangerously

Final Score: Boston Red Sox 8, Tampa Bay Devil Rays 6

After last night's cruise to win - a fine wine of victories if ever there was one - I admit to entering tonight's contest expecting more of the same. Two runs in the first bolstered my expectations to almost arrogant proportions, but really, any game where Big Papi hits a triple should be declared over and done with in favor of the Red Sox by way of minor miracle.

Of course, I had failed to incorporate the past results of our pitcher, Johnny "Dangerously" Lester, into my egotistical calculations. Lester special talent is to somehow make a game in the Trop, nominally a walk in the park, into a tension-wrought voyage, but do so just well enough to win. Much like, say, swimming in a pool of Tiger Sharks with a set of bloody steaks strapped to your legs, watching Lester pitch makes you very, very nervous and apt to lose your lunch. It doesn't help that his Houdini-like escape acts so frequently revolve around the inducement of the double play ball (including one tonight), making me wonder about the single season record for most double plays as I twist my hat and stomach into knots hoping Lester will avoid the death blow. Don't get me wrong: I think Lester will be a major force in the future. He's just wildly inconsistent in a very aggravating way right now.

Tonight we all got lucky: the Sox won a war of attrition simply by scoring more runs than Lester surrendered. Powered by a brace of doubles by Youkilis, Crisp, Lugo and Pedroia, Boston surged in the fourth to reclaim the lead lost in the bottom of the first, in spite of two mistakes by Lester that ended up on the far side of the fence. It doesn't make for the prettiest of wins, but we'll take it.