Brief musings after Game 2 of the American League Championship Series:
The Tampa Bay Rays looked like they were nervous, tight, and pressing in Game 1. In Game 2? Like they were loaded for bear and not prepared to roll over at any point.
Game 1 was excellent -- not perfect or one of those "wow, I can't believe I saw this happen" games -- but very entertaining with some great plays and pitching on both sides.
Game 2? Not so much. Sure, home runs are fun to watch but 7 of them in one game? That's not evidence of superior hitting but of pitchers who aren't on their game.
I think "Daisuke Matsusaka" must be Japanese for "Harry Houdini". He walked the bases loaded in the first inning of Game 1 and then got 3 straight outs. That's the 15th time he's wiggled out of a bases-loaded jam without giving up a run. Opponents are now batting .000 against him with the bases loaded! How on earth do you get into that jam so often and still manage to escape?
Mighty mite Dustin Pedroia is one of the most entertaining players to watch in all of baseball.
Where has Big Papi gone? He's looking positively mortal. Is his wrist still causing that much discomfort?
Is Josh Beckett done for the ALCS? If the Sox make it to the World Series, will he be available? Can they win it all without Beckett or Lowell, or without Papi firing on all cylinders?
5 hours and 27 minutes to play Game 2? Yikes!
I think Terry Francona is certainly the best Red Sox manager in my lifetime and as such has earned some leeway with regard to his in-game choices but I do question his decisions to bring Dice-K back in at the star of the eighth inning in Game 1 and going to Mike Timlin instead of Paul Byrd in the eleventh inning in Game 2. The Dice-K call? No harm no foul as Okajima and Masterson bailed him out. The Timlin call? Oops.
You've got to love Joe Maddon who remarked "In a straight-up race, I've got him over Seabiscuit. I'm dating myself a bit. I'm sorry, but that's the first horse that came to my mind," after Fernando Perez scampered home ahead of J.D. Drew's throw to score the winning run in Game 2.
Jason Bay may not be a masher like "Manny being Manny" Ramirez but he's batting .440 in the post-season with 3 home runs, 3 doubles, 11 total hits, 9 RBI, and 4 walks. He's getting on base better than 50% of the time and is a solid left fielder. The Red Sox have Jason Bay under contract for next year. I hope they're willing to lock him up for a few more years, after that.
Game 3 - Monday at 4:30 PM in Fenway. Let's hope Jon Lester spins another gem.