Friday, October 19, 2007

Beckett sends it back to Boston

There is so little about the Red Sox you feel like you can rely on this year. Curt Schilling, Tim Wakefield, Dice-K, Dustin and even Manny and Big Papi have been consistently inconsistent all year. Fortunately for the Red Sox faithful, Josh Beckett isn't on that list. He was solid all season and seems to have turned it up a notch for the post season as he posts one lights out performance after another. It's no wonder the fans were calling for Tito's blood after putting Tim Wakefield in rather than Beckett on short rest for Game 4, who wouldn't want 3 appearances this series with the way he's been pitching lately? The other Cy Young candidate CC Sabathia paled by comparison as the sox once again got to him early and often. If one wasn't familiar with their bodies of work, one might assume that Byrd and Westbrook were the dual aces on the staff rather than Sabathia and Carmona based on their performances in the ALCS.

There's something comforting about the Red Sox situation right now. It would have been easy for the Red Sox to get swept in Cleveland, but now they've grabbed the momentum back, and if the Indians want to go to the World Series they're going to have to come to Friendly Fenway and stump the sox in front of a raucous home crowd. If they can do that then maybe they deserve to go to the World Series. Curt Schilling will have a chance to add another chapter to his volume of post-season lore in Game 6 on Saturday night. The sox were able to get to Fausto Carmona in game 2 and pushed it to extra innings before Eric Gagne and Javy Lopez teamed up to blow it, with any luck they'll be able to get to him again and Curt Schilling will turn out a better performance this time around.

Fortunately for the officiating crew, their botched call of what was clearly a Manny Ramirez Home Run will get swept under the rug as the extra run was inconsequential given the 7-1 final score, but I'm still upset about it, at the time it was still a very close game and another run could have been the difference that ended a season of baseball. The officiating this ALCS has been terrible, especially the balls and strikes. The strike zone hasn't been consistent at all. I've heard arguments that a more technological instant replay approach to baseball would ruin the flavor of the game, but there's nothing more irritating than calls that stand that were clearly incorrect when seen on replay like Manny's homer tonight or when it seems like an opposing pitcher is getting questionable strike calls and your pitcher isn't. The technology is there, it makes no sense not to use it.

In other news...

The University of South Florida Bulls, this year's Cinderella story in college football, which had scraped and clawed it's way to a perfect record and #2 in the AP Polls lost to Rutgers Thursday night. This will finally bring an end to the speculation that the Bulls could run the table, post a perfect record and shock the college football world by going from an unranked program to national title contender in the course of a year. This is good news for Boston College as they should move up in the rankings over the weekend as a result. This has been the overall theme of BC's season, advancing in the rankings not because they're winning, but because the teams in front of them continue to lose. If the scrappy Michigan State Spartans can pull out a win over the #1 Ohio State Buckeyes BC might be able to jump from 3rd to 1st in the bye week.

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