Game Seven of the 2008 ALCS should be good. (SawxBlog Illustration)
In the past decade the Boston Red Sox have not played in an ALCS where a Game 7 hasn't taken place. We all have been hearing and reading ad nauseum about how the Sox have come back from similar deficits in 2004 and 2007, however, this game isn't what that's about anymore. This is now a one game series with the winner being awarded a trip to the World Series. The previous six games mean nothing, and it's time to put up or shut up for both teams tonight.
You have to love the experience the Red Sox have to pull from, however experience is only as good as your starting pitcher, and I know every Boston Red Sock and fan alike would rather have no one else then Jon Lester on the mound tonight. Lester is primed for this start, and although his last outing wasn't anything to write home about, the 24 year old is veteran enough to put that behind him. Also, he has a pitchers best friend right there with him to help calm him down, and that special weapon is our Captain, Jason Varitek.
We Sox fans have to recognize that what we are seeing is Jason Varitek's swan song. Much like Pedro in 2004, you almost know that this is his last year with the club. It's sad to write, and I may end up being wrong in the end, but I think age is finally catching up with the captain, and his bat has become too much of a liability. It's been utterly painful to watch him bat this year, but his resiliance and professionalism have always been at top form, and that's why he's our captain. Varitek's go ahead homerun last night was his own personal Rocky moment. You know he's always going to call a good game, but you just don't expect it with the bat anymore. To see our captain pull one out was a miraculous feeling, and you just hope he has a new found confidence at the plate for at least one more game. Either way Tek will be loved forever in New England, and last night he penned another chapter in his book, just when you thought it was over.
Tonight, most likely after midnight, there'll be a hero with champagne running down his face along with a ticket to the World Series in his hand, and I sure as hell hope he has Boston written accross his chest. Lets Go Sox!!!
27 outs left, lets be smart with them.