(Guest Blogging by T.J. Donegan. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)
The Red Sox continued their postseason dominance over the Angels last night in exciting fashion with Manny Ramirez’s walk-off three-run homer in the bottom of the ninth. The contest stretched over four hours but ended up being worth every minute.
Matsuzaka continued to struggle with men on base and was chased from the game after four and two-thirds but the principals of the bullpen all stepped up and pitched no-hit ball the rest of the way. Papelbon got the win, but Manny and the whole pen deserve the credit.
The game was a microcosm of “Manny being Manny,” with two ridiculous defensive miscues by the mercurial left-fielder, finished off with a reminder of why he’s one of the most dangerous right-handed hitters of all time.
It was an odd game throughout, with Danny Vinik, a fan already dubbed the “anti-Bartman,” stealing a foul pop out from Angels catcher Jeff Mathis, keeping a Ramirez at-bat alive. For his efforts, he got a high five from Stephen King, who was sitting next to him. Weird. Twenty says King writes another book about it before the weekend’s over.
Manny ended it with his first walk-off homerun with the Red Sox, which is the focus of most of the news this morning. It was his first walk-off hit in 11 years. Although, to be fair, he’s watched an awful lot of walk-off blasts from the on-deck circle or first base the last few seasons.
The Sox head to the west coast to try and finish off the Angels with Curt Schilling getting the ball to start in game three against Jered Weaver this Sunday.
Jimmy Golen of the AP has the game story for Boston.com. Dan Shaughnessy resists the urge to talk about Stephen King and Ghosts of Fenway. Bob Ryan chimes in with a nice deadline effort saying it was just Manny being Manny.
Bradfordtalks about the Danny Vinik, son of Red Sox limited partner Jeffrey Vinik, who stole the foul pop out last night. Steve Buckley has more on the Danny’s great save, including a short interview from Jeff Maier, the kid who caught Derek Jeter’s would’ve-been-fly-out for a home run in the 1996 playoffs. Tony Massarottihas more on Manny getting his power back last night which yields this great quote from the slugger:
“I haven’t been right all year round. But I guess, you know, when you don’t feel good and you still get hits, that’s when you know you are a bad man.”
Jeff Horrigan also has a wrap-up of Ramirez’s first walk-off homerun with the Red Sox. Michael Silverman says it was the same old story for Matsuzaka on the mound last night. Jeff Jacobs has some more on Matsuzaka’s pitching.
Massarotti talks about Lester getting onto the postseason roster a year after being diagnosed with cancer. Rob Bradfordsays the Sox scouting warned the team about the Angels’ propensity to throw wild. Mark Murphy tries to get K-Rod’s views on the final pitch of the game.
Sean McAdam says Mike Scoiscia had to choose between the firing squad and the hangman’s noose when it came to whether to pitch to Ortiz or Ramirez. Steve Krasner talks about the bullpen slamming the door shut by no-hitting the Angels for four and a third to end the game. John Powers has more on the bullpen getting its first work of the postseason. Joe McDonald says this was a game that had it all, and then some. Jackie MacMullan talks about Manny’s titanic game-ender as well. As does Jeff Goldberg at the Courant. Paul Jarvey also talks about the Angels being undone by Manny last night
Out on the west coast, Kevin Baxter of the LA Times says rust was no problem for the bullpen last night. Jon Couture throws in that these Angels are proving, even in two losses, that they’re no fluke.
Horrigan’s notebook has Pedroia being questionable for Game 3 with a jammed shoulder and Wakefield trying to make his way back for the ALCS. Jim Donaldson says Pedroia felt no pain after the game, though. Bill Plaschke has a piece on the postseason shortcomings of Vlad Guerrero, which the guys at Fire Joe Morgan promptly tore to shreds. Always good stuff.
Karen Guregian has a look at the lesser-known side of Randy Moss for the Herald. Robert Lee over at The Projo has a nice piece on offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels. Lee’s notebook also has Browns’ cornerback Leigh Bodden up for the challenge of facing a rejuvenated Randy Moss.
The Celtics have their first preseason game today against the Toronto Raptors on the other side of the pond, it will be the first chance to see the big-three-that-we-shouldn’t-call-the-Big-Three in action (can someone just come up with a serviceable nickname yet?.
The Bruins opened their season last night with a 4-1 drubbing at the hands of the Dallas Stars. The Bs looked sloppy through most of the game and were unable to really get much going with Bergeron’s goal the only real highlight besides some good physical play.
Stephen Harris has the recap from last night. Fluto Shinzawa says at least it wasn’t as bad as last year’s 8-3 opening day loss. Good to know the Bruins are in Buffalo Bills territory now. Kevin Dupont implores you to not tell anyone back home about the Bruins game, you might be the “subject of endless ridicule.”
That should wrap it up for the morning, I’m sure most of the writers will get around to their notebooks this afternoon but with a cross-country flight and the late ending game, it might take a while. Please, remember to tip your guest bloggers, we’re a hungry sort.