Friday, October 12, 2007

2007 ALCS Game 1: Cowboys from Hell

Final Score: Boston Red Sox 10, Cleveland Indians 3

Here we come reach for your gun/And you better listen well my friend, you see

You're just as surprised by the outcome of this game as I am, right? Not that Boston won - that sort of thinking just plain not becoming of a fan - but that what should have been a pitchers duel turned unbalanced in the third inning and into a blowout by the fifth? Not that Beckett made one mistake that ended his scoreless post-season streak, but that Sabathia - in retrospect - didn't have a prayer against the Boston offense from the moment Pedroia rocketed the third pitch of the first inning back to the mound? We're in the post-season, and I'm bored enough by the course of the game to take part in conversations about World War II documentaries in the middle of the fifth inning. Very surprising.

It's been slow down below/Aimed at you we're the cowboys from hell

What's not so surprising: when Sabathia foolishly opened the floodgates in the first inning by giving up a brace of singles to Youkilis, Papi, and Manny, the Sox offense came rushing out, ready to not only right the wrong that Beckett committed by surrendering a first inning home run to Travis Hafner, but completely dominate the score for the rest of the game. Boston couldn't quite pull the trigger in the first - Lowell double played to end the inning - but you could feel the rumble, the tremors of the coming earthquake that would eventually tear the park - and Cleveland's pitching - asunder. Taking a commanding lead was just a matter of time.

Deed is done again, we've won/Ain't talking no tall tales friend

The Indians' home run was a fluke, and Beckett immediately returned to his dominating ways. Meanwhile, Ortiz and Manny solidifying the triumphant return of their two-man wrecking crew, building on flawless nights to garner walks, get hits, score runs, and operate as the unquenchable heart of the offensive attack. The Sox loaded the bases three times, in what must have seemed like a twilight zone for Cleveland pitching: Ortiz would come up, Ortiz would walk, then Manny would wait for the fat pitch that never came and walk in a run.

'Cause high noon, your doom/Comin' for you we're the cowboys from hell

I don't expect such disparate results tomorrow night; looking at how Sabathia and Carmona did in the ALDS (and Sabathia's performance tonight), it seems that Carmona might have better post-season success, put a damper on the potent offense, and keep the scoring down. Indeed, because Schilling is Schilling, capable of performing under such pressure, tomorrow night might be the best game of the series for pitching. However, the Indians have to be wondering right now: with Sabathia in poor form, how far can they get on one star pitcher? If the Red Sox strike when the iron is hot, this series could turn into a rout quicker than the sell out time for a Sox/Yankees game.

Step outside/Cowboys from hell