Yup, it's that time of the season again.... September is upon us.. the home stretch.. the final run... where the men are separated from the boys... the strong survive and move on.. the weak hit the linx early....
Our boys made the final turn toward the finish line last night at the "Trop"... Tropicana Field (so eloquently described by a colleague as THE DUMP) ... in Tampa Bay.. against the (devil) Rays (but ya doesn't has to call them Johnson - remember THAT commercial ?!?!?!).
I don't need to tell any member of the Nation what an absolute nightmare of a time the Sox have in this venue (2-13 over the last 15 contests)... and against the Rays in general. Even with Kazmir now on the west coast, the odds were in the Rays' favor... as they are ALSO fighting for a playoff spot.... and Jonny Lester was on the hill.... surely our boys would only score a few runs, right???? WRONG !!!!!!!!!!!!
Objects in the rearview mirror are NOT closer than they appear comes to mind as Jonny Lester pitched 6 superb frames, giving up but 2 runs on 7 hits and fanning 9... and sending the Rays further back in the race... he did give up a big fly to Carlos Pena - his league-leading 39th round-tripper... hmmmmm, THAT name sounds familiar !! Nuf Ced
Out of the 'pen, new-comer, Bill Wagner pitched a perfect 7th, striking out 2... then came UH OH.... finally, pitching like I know he can.... AHHHHHHHHHH.. Oki pitched to 5 batters in the 8th and gave up 2 runs on 4 hits and a walk... he didn't even record an out !!!!!!!!! Thankfully, Paps is feeling the pressure of another closer in town... and pitched to the minimum, 6 batters, in a 2-inning save... Nuf Ced
Our victory sent Tampa Bay further back in the wild card race and was critical as the Rangers were busy taking both ends of a twin-bill from Toronto to close to within 3-1/2 games...
Offensive stars were abound as JBay (30th !!! - solo shot and a walk), Youk (23rd - 2 hits, a sac fly - 2 rbi) and JD (19th - 2-run jobby plus a walk) all went yard... Mikey had 2 doubles, a walk and an rbi, Jacoby had 2 hits (a triple, 2 rbi AND 2 GREAT catches).... VMart also had 2 hits and a walk... Papi and Gonzo chipped in with a hit each... Pedey had no hits but walked twice... oh, uh, Gonzo is batting .435 in his last 7 games..... Nuf Ced
And Jacoby.... simply GLOVELY... talk about an angel in the outfield.... this kid can really fly out there... Seriously, yes Paps pitched a 2-inning save... BUT, last night's victory can be directly attributed to Ellsbury's outstanding (and out-stretched) play in center field (put me in coach... - great tune).
Jacoby laid it all out TWICE - once in the early frames - AND, in the bottom of the 8th with the bases loaded (thank you OKI !!!!) and the Sox leading 7-4.... Jacoby flew in on a blooper off a Rays' bat and gracefully made the diving catch... ok, ok ok, I KNOW he caught it in the heel of his glove but.... that catch saved the game as surely the Rays would have scored at least 3 !!!!
THEN !!!!!!!!! Not finished with his heroics, Jacoby prompty tripled in the top of the 9th (uh, and 9th of the season) driving in the final run... and the final nail in the Rays' coffin as Paps pitched a perfect 9th... if ELLSBURY doesn't win the 10th Player, I'm resigning from the Nation... NOT !!!!! Nuf Ced
Beckett's on the bump tonight.... undoubtedly we need this stallion to get it all together for this pennant run.. tonight is the first day of the rest of his season.... crossing fingers.. Nuf Ced
As always, it's been real..... it's been fun..... and it really has been lot's of fun