The Red Sox landed back in the ALCS who got seven shutout innings from Jon Lester, only to see the Angels roar back with two runs to tie the game in the eighth. The Angels then had a runner at third base with one out in the ninth, but Erick Aybar missed a bunt attempt and Jason Varitek chased down pinch runner Reggie Willits to snuff out the final Angels threat. In the bottom of the ninth Jason Bay hit a ground rule double, and was then chased home on a single through the infield by rookie Jed Lowrie, giving the Red Sox a 3-2 series clinching win.
Amalie Benjamin checks in with the heroes of last night, Bay, Lowrie and Lester. Michael Silverman says that it is time to bring on the Rays after last night’s clincher. Jeff Goldberg says that it wasn’t a sweep, but it was pretty sweet. Joe Haggerty has the Sox heading back to the ALCS for the second year in a row. Kevin Thomas looks at the finishing frenzy by the Sox which landed them in the next round. Steve Krause looks at a couple things that we learned from last night’s game. Kevin McNamara has the Red Sox closing out the powerhouse and saying hello to the scrappy upstarts. Ron Chimelis calls this one a “triumph of tenacity and intelligence.” Bill Ballou says That the Red Sox had no business winning this series. Jon Couture says that the Red Sox have just learned to own the moment.
Sean McAdam says that winning might be nothing new for the Red Sox, but the guys who are getting the job done are new. Dan Shaughnessy has the front page game story in the Globe. Bill Reynolds has last week’s questions getting answered in this series, as the Sox move on to the next round. Reynolds also hates playoff baseball because the games are too long. Alex Speier looks at the youth movement which has fueled this latest Red Sox run. Mike Fine has the Red Sox once again refusing to lose in the postseason.
Bob Ryan recaps the the final two thrilling innings. Maureen Mullen has Jason Bay getting a little banged up during the final play and in the celebration. Steve Buckley says that this team is built and prepared for a title run. Steve Solloway has the Sox relieved that there will be no game five in California tomorrow night. Rich Thompson reports from the clubhouse celebration following the game. Reynolds has Terry Francona choosing to stay in the moment following the win.
Adam Kilgore looks at Jon Lester once again rising to the occasion and shutting out the lineup that won more games than any other team in baseball this season. Tom Caron, for the Portland Press Herald, says that the Red Sox are certainly glad they didn’t trade Lester for Johan Santana now. Reynolds says that stats only tell part of the story about Lester. Jeff Jacobs says that if you knew anything about him, you knew Lester wasn’t going to blink last night. Art Davidson agrees that it’s not surprising that Lester pitched well last night. Phil O’Neill has Lester remaining The Man for the Red Sox last night. David Brown says that Lester has been a heck of a backup plan for the Red Sox.
Silverman reports on the Red Sox decision to take Mike Lowell off the active roster. Ryan looks at the Red Sox shutting down Lowell last night and for the ALCS, but wonders if there might be a Kirk Gibson moment in the future still. McNamara has Lowell disappointed, but acknowledging that is the right decision for the team. Bob Stern says that Lowell is likely done for the postseason.
McAdam looks at why Sean Casey has been MIA in this series. McNamara has Jed Lowrie‘s dream rookie season getting even better last night. Chris Forsberg has Lowrie going to the plate in the ninth looking for a curve and getting one to hit. Brian MacPherson has newcomers getting the job done for the Red Sox last night. O’Neill has Dustin Pedroia snapping his ALDS slump.
Kilgore has another look back at the performance of Josh Beckett on Sunday night, while looking ahead to what he might have in his next start, which could be game one of the ALCS. Tomase looks at sinkerball pitcher Justin Masterson pulling a 96 mph fastball out of his pocket to blow away Vladimir Guerrero in the eighth inning. Brown says that the Red Sox defied some history last night involving games after marathon losses in the postseason.
This is hilarious to me: Last week in a Boston.com chat, Dan Shaughnessy said that Manny Ramirez was probably right when he said that Boston fans care too much. He haughtily added that HIS happiness certainly does not depend on whether the Red Sox win or lose. Today, he chides Red Sox fans for holding back on their enthusiasm until the World Series, saying that it seems that some of the thrill is gone for many fans, who have come to expect that their team will be playing in October every year. He talks about the “Fat Cat” fans and that it is “arrogant, sad, and unavoidable” that things are this way. He admonishes:
Enjoy the rest of the Red Sox season, Boston fans. Don’t stress too much about the thought of losing the next game.
How can you be a “Fat Cat” fan and yet still be stressing too much about losing?
Benjamin’s notebook has more on the Red Sox decision with Lowell. Thomas’ notebook has more on Lowell. Silverman’s notebook looks at Francona’s decision to pull Lester after seven innings. McNamara’s notebook has Francona saying that Beckett is physically sound after his outing on Sunday. Goldberg’s notebook has the Red Sox choosing to get Lowell some rest. Davidson’s notebook has more on the decision about Lowell. MacPherson’s notebook looks at how decisions can sometimes backfire on managers. Ballou’s notebook has an AL East battle on tap for the ALCS. Couture’s notebook has Lowell likely finished for the season. Vega’s notebook has another short playoff run coming to an end for the Angels.
Michael Felger has the Patriots moving back to the head of the class in his weekly report card. Eric McHugh‘s report card is hard on the cornerbacks in the red zone, but that’s about it. Ian Clark would like to see the offensive line do better. Ron Borges has pretty solid grades across the board for the Patriots.
Christopher Price has the Patriots trying to find some routine during their week on the West coast. Hector Longo claims that while the Patriots won, there is still little reason for optimism. Douglas Flynn says that the Patriots certainly weren’t perfect, but they were a whole lot better that we had seen previously. Mark Farinella says that Sunday saw the return of the scheming Belichick.
Karen Guregian says that Matt Cassel scheduled some time to meet with Randy Moss last week to make sure that both knew what was needed to lift the struggling offense. Christopher L. Gasper has the Patriots making use of some exotic defensive packages Sunday. Rich Garven says that it was a much needed win and confidence builder for Cassel. Shalise Manza Young has the Patriots defense thanking the offense for making them look good.
Farinella’s notebook has the Patriots making themselves at home in San Jose. Guregian’s notebook has Belichick standing by Laurence Maroney. Gasper’s notebook has the players enthusiastic about staying out in San Jose for the week. Garven’s notebook has more on the defensive packages from Sunday. Young’s notebook says that the stay out West will allow the team to get a full week of preparation for the Chargers.