Red Sox won't soon forget the name of C. B. Bucknor. (TBS Screenshot / SawxBlog)
When watching playoff baseball the one thing you don't ever want to do is discuss the umpiring after the game's over - and unfortunately for us, that's exactly what we have to do after Game 1 of the ALDS in Anaheim. C. B. Bucknor (interesting last name huh?) was off on at least four calls at first base last night - and these were plays, in all honesty, that weren't even close. You expect umpires to miss calls like this down in Florida during Spring Training, not in October with playoff life on the line. The missed calls aren't the only reasons why the Red Sox lost, as the umpires weren't responsible for the Sox not scoring a run, but they sure didn't help with their momentum, which is ever important in these five game series. There was a turning point last night, and this point didn't even happen in an inning where a run was scored.
This turning point was in the bottom of the third when Torii Hunter drew a walk on a nine pitch at-bat in what should have been a called strike three. Instead, Jon Lester had to throw five more pitches and more importantly, deal with the first tinges of real playoff stress and disappointment. He got out of the jam with a strike out of Vladimir Guerrero, however, seeds were planted, and Torii Hunter, who's seized the reigns as leader of this Angels team, gathered some very valuable information off of Lester, that would eventually lead to his three run homer in the bottom of the fifth inning.
From that point on you began to see Lester sway. It was as if he was a great pugilist who suddenly developed a cut above his eye, and once the blood started to flow, the fall wasn't very far behind. The whole cadence of the game went in the Angels favor, as the din of the crowd began to take an elevated height, and my pacing started to take on manic qualities.
The worst part of these five-game series is just that, they're only a five game series. Tonight the Red Sox find themselves with our embattled ace, Josh Beckett, on the mound. Am I worried? Hell yes I'm worried, I'd be insane not to be with only 54 outs now remaining on the season, that said, I truly believe we have the better team. There's no way in hell the Sox are getting shutout again, and I like our chances when Beckett's on the mound, despite the nerves I have due to his poor second half. This is a better team than last years, and more importantly, it's a healthy team. Just look at that diving stab Iron Mike Lowell made in the second inning last night. A year a go he virtually needed a walker just to get around.
So, the Sox are healthy, they have their ace on the mound, they're not going to commit three errors, and hopefully the umps stay where they're supposed to be tonight in the background. Too many things fell the Angels way last night, no way it happens again tonight. Mark it. The Red Sox are going to win tonight. Remember as the away team all they have to do is win one of the first two games on the road, then it's back to Fenway where we'll be waiting, ready to cheer them on.