October Baseball Is Back In Boston

If today were opposite day, Al Reyes would be the most dominant closer the Red Sox have ever seen. However, it is not opposite day and the Red sox are going to the playoffs.

Red Sox fans far and wide were scoreboard watching all night due to the fact that if the Detroit Tigers fell to the Royals, a Red Sox win would secure a playoff spot for Boston. Although most of us Sox fans have been scoreboard watching since Opening Day, it is rare to find a professional baseball player glancing at the scoreboard in the late innings. Tonight was one of those nights where you could catch one of them taking a peak at the Tiger/Royals game.

Tonight’s contest started off promising as the Sox jumped out to an early 3-0 lead by the fourth inning. Many have noticed that Daisuke always has "that inning" in all of his outings. "That inning" is known to Sox fans as the inning that Matsuzaka hits a wall and falls out of sync with his pitches and his composure. The bottom of the fourth had Sox fans shaking their heads and believing that Daisuke’s inning had come sooner than they had hoped.

Matsuzaka managed to pitch his way out of the bottom of the fourth only giving up two runs yet putting the Devil Rays within one run. One of the hottest hitters on the team right now came up with one of the biggest (later proved to not be the biggest) hit of the night. The hot hitting JD Drew kept the Sox rolling in the top of the sixth inning by launching a no-doubter into the seats way out in right field scoring two.

In the bottom of the seventh with the score of 5-3 in Boston’s favor, lefty reliever Javier Lopez was called upon to get one out. It just so happens that this one out is by far the toughest out to get in the Devil Ray’s lineup. Heading into this at bat with 41 home runs on the season and having already homered earlier in the game, Haverhill’s own Carlos Pena stepped into the batters box with two men on. Lopez had seemed to have this at bat under his belt by getting ahead of Pena 0-2 but Pena battled back

Pena worked the count full with his selective eye and fouling off anything that was close until he got the pitch he wanted. Well, he got that pitch that he wanted and drove it deep to right-center field to put the Devil Rays on top 6-5. Carlos Pena’s 4 RBI on the night would make up much of Tampa Bay’s offense but it was not all that they needed to bury the surging Sox.

Boston was confident to be heading into the top of the ninth with the bottom of the order to start things off against the Devil Ray closer who had already blown multiple saves against Boston this season. The captain of a team doesn’t always have to be the best player on the team, but the captain always comes up in big situations such as the ninth inning, a home run ties it, and if you come back to win you are heading to the playoffs.

Jason Varitek began the inning by belting an opposite field home run that sent Tropicana field into a frenzy. If you closed your eyes, there’s no way you would believe the Red Sox were on the road. Keeping the momentum rolling, Eric Hinske, who has never played baseball in October, doubled to right field to keep the rally going.

Following a pop up to third base by Coco, former Tampa Bay Devil Ray Julio Lugo stepped in the box with a chance to put his team on top and into the playoffs. Home runs of the "no-doubter" genre must have been the thing to do tonight because Julio Lugo hit an absolute bomb to left field to put the Red Sox on top 8-6. Al Reyes watched the ball sail over the fence with disbelief that he has once again handed yet another game to the Boston Red Sox.

With the Magic Number to clinch the AL East down to 6, don’t think the Red Sox are going to start to take it easy just because they’re in. The players, the manager, the owners, the GM, they all want the division and they want it bad. Don’t expect to see the Paw Sox out there for the remainder of the regular season, expect to see the Boston Red Sox grinding out the remainder of the season with hopes of clinching the division for the first time since 1995. Congratulations to the 2007 Boston Red Sox but just know that your work is far from over, we want another one.

-Jared Carrabis

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