V-Tek tags out Carl Crawford at home in a rare Game 3 highlight. (AP Photo)
So hopefully last night was the part of the movie where Clubber Lang really lets Rocky have it, only to find that Rocky still has a little juice left in the tank in later rounds. Between the Pats Sunday night clobbering by the Chargers and last nights Game 3 loss to the Rays there hasn't been too much sporting joy in the greater New England area in the past few days.
Once your team gets down a game in a playoff series things instantly take a turn for the more serious. Suddenly you realize your team's only two losses away from being eliminated and things start to get a little more intense. You glance at the scoreboard more often, countdown outs, and break out the strangest of rituals. We have to remember that the Red Sox have come back from a 3-0 deficit as well as a 3-1 deficit in the ALCS so there is certainly no need to panic yet. What is concerning for the Sox is that they truly look tired and spent. David Ortiz, Josh Beckett, & J.D. Drew are obviously playing through some pain, Mike Lowell is sitting on the bench, and our pitchers seem to be wilting a bit under the October pressure.
You can't say anything too bad about Jon Lester, he is after all human, and in the long run I'm sure he learned a lot from last nights game. Having the Rays beat both Beckett and Lester back to back sure must give the Rays a lot of confidence, but in reality, they don't need anymore, they've had it all year long. I'm sure all of Red Sox Nation as a whole is a little hesitant with Wakefield on the mound tonight, however he may be the perfect switch to help cool of these Rays hitters.
And although Paul Byrd did give up that three run jack, effectively ending the game, he ate up valuable innings that has now made our bullpen fresher then fresh. Remember when Wake pitched those innings in the 19-8 loss to the Yanks in the 2004 ALCS? Very similar. The bullpen has now ALL had two complete days off, and I would suspect that if tonight's game is close Tito will be quick to pull the trigger and send in a new pitcher. This is what I take out of the loss, yes it was 9-1, but it only counts as one game. If you're going to lose this was the smartest way to do it, by saving the bullpen, and I'd very much suspect Game 4 to have an all hands on deck feel.
Yeah last night sucked, yeah our team's pretty beat up, but there's certainly no fat lady singing yet, the 2008 Rocky Sox need to take a few blows before they can stage their comeback. Let's just hope it's not as drama filled as the last two ALCS's, where the Red Sox never were able to tie it up 2-2.