Sunday, October 16, 2005

Sweet, Sweet Victory

I do not have the burden of arguing that the umpires were right after the Sox's 8-2 victory tonight. Finley unquestionably was interfered with, Podsednik was definitely picked off, and he was definitely caught stealing. The umpires blew three calls on the Angels. However, by no stretch of the imagination did any of those events make the difference in this game. Even the no-call catcher's interference, which should have put the Angels in a bases-loaded, 1-out situation, likely would have cost the Sox only 1.5 runs (subscription to BP required). Give the Angels two runs there (generous, given that Kennedy and Figgins, the next two batters, struck out in their subsequent at-bats, take away a Podsednik run, and it's a 7-4 game at worst.

Freddy Garcia's complete game, 2-run performance tonight was apocryphal of the series as a whole thus far. The Angels found themselves down in the count most of the time. Even when Garcia was totally gassed in the 9th inning - his fastball was in the mid-80's by then - they found ways to get themselves out. The Angels looked out of sorts all game and the Sox pounced, showing a killer instinct we have not seen in this franchise since, well, I've never seen it.

Being one win away from the World Series - something that has not happened since September of 1959 - is perhaps the scariest part. The Cubbies got up 3-1 in their series against the Marlins in 2003 only to have their guts ripped out by Beckett, I-Rod, and Cabrera. That's why I'm holding back as much emotion as possible - I just do not know if I could stand that kind of collapse. Now, this Angel team is not much like the Marlins team - there's no equivalent of Beckett to be found - but it still scares the crap out of me. Byrd could put together another solid start, Buehrle could be ineffective the second time around, and a rested Lackey could pummel a 118-pitch-tired Garland. There's no doubt in my mind that the Angels have the ability to win this series.

The Sox need to come out swinging again tomorrow. Bury Byrd with another 3-4 runs in the 1st inning - I would love to see Jermaine Dye get into the action with an early home run. Then pummel him in the early innings to bring in a procession of Angels relievers. I hope the Sox can make this a no doubter; I likely have access to Game 6 tickets, and I do not want to be anywhere near Chicago on Tuesday. I want a kill.

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