As advertised, I am live blogging Game 3 of the 2007 Fall Classic. But first, some preliminaries:
1. This new Fox postseason music. What do we make of it, sportsfans? Frankly, I was looking forward to the old music. It was, you know, sporty. But with the new music, I keep thinking someone on The West Wing is receiving a Congressional Medal of Honor.
2. As much as I personally want the Red Sox to win, if Josh Fogg can beguile the Red Sox we will be in for some fabulously awful headlines. What do you think? “Fogg Rolls In.” “Sox Lost in Fogg.” “Boston All Fogged Up.” It would be almost worth it. Almost.
3. Before things get underway, I just want to take a moment and recall the poignancy of the pitching matchup in Game 2. There’s Schilling, doing it with finesse and guile and wisdom and painting the corners. And boy does he look old. And there’s Ubaldo Jimenez, who looks like a terrified teenager, who has nasty stuff and his whole future ahead of him but who’s throwing the ball all over the place. It was almost like the passing of a baton. And Schilling, pulled by his manager, starts walking off the field—the Fenway Faithful rise to their feet, for this man who has given them so much—Schilling bites his lip—and—AND!—Fox cuts to commercial. Thanks, Fox.
And now, the game.
8:14 pm. Players introduced on the field. There seem to be a few Sox fans present.
8:15. Oh. My. God. They have those. Towels!!!! I hate those towels!
8:18. Carrie Underwood sings national anthem. Strange not to hear her advocating woman-on-car violence.
8:34. Keys to the Game announced. The key for the Rockies is “bunching hits a necessity.” Apparently, this is Fox-speak for “timely hitting.” But the word bunching reminds me of long underwear.
8:35. The first pitch of the game is a ball. Apparently, the scouting report on Josh Fogg is “if stuff matched his heart, he’d be a Hall of Famer.” Um. Yeah. And if a frog had wings, he wouldn’t bump his ass when he hopped.
8:43. First two hitters have reached base. Papi at the plate. And—AND!—Papi strikes out. If David goes 0-for-4, will we see Youk starting tomorrow? Just a thought.
8:44. “Great speed with Pedroia at first”?! Thanks, Joe Buck. I think you meant, “Great speed with Jacoby Ellsbury at second.”
8:46. There appears to be a man in the seats wearing a Jolly Green giant costume—ie, green body paint and vines. Then there’s a dude dressed up as a Storm Trooper. WTF? Manny flies out.
8:50. Mike Lowell steps in. Did you know that Mike Lowell’s eyebrows cure cancer? Too bad he has never plucked them. And more germanely, too bad he flied out.
8:53. Spilborghs does their lineup. His goatee looks like an anchor.
8:54. Kaz Matsui takes the first offering from Matsuzaka and lofts it into right. J.D. Drew misses the ball entirely. And I thought Drew was the one guy whose defense I didn’t have to worry about this game. So Kaz takes second easily.
8:57. Tulowitzki works the count full and then strikes out. And then slams the bat on the ground. Oddly, when I looked at Matsuzaka’s regular-season splits, his numbers with a runner on second were much better than his numbers in other situations (ie, man on first, third, or first and third). If I recall correctly, they were even better than his bases-empty numbers. Weird. And Dice-K makes an amazing play! He nabs Holliday’s comebacker to the mound and catches Kaz in a rundown between second and third! It’s a good play, but I wonder if there was a way they could have turned two on that….probably not. Greedy Sarah.
9:01. Todd Helton is up to bat and seriously, they’re showing a guy in the stands holding a Helton sign and WEARING A TOP HAT. A top hat?!? Helton ends the inning on a grounder.
9:03. Bristol Meyers Squibb ad. Lou DiMaggio is talking about some sort of heart problem and talking about his three kids, “Fifteen, Nineteen, and Three.” For a split-second, I think those are his kids’ names. Someone’s been watching too much Seinfeld.
9:06. Varitek hits a comebacker to the mound, his broken bat flying at Fogg. Tulowitzki barehands the ball and gets the slow-as-molasses Captain by a half-step at first. If it was anyone but ‘Tek, he’d be safe. If they had anyone but Tulowitzki at short, Tek’d be safe. This is why we watch, sportsfans.
9:08. Lugo lobs a two-out double into left. Somehow, I don’t think Boston’s two-out hitting bonanza is going to continue with Dice-K up to bat. Matsuzaka hasn’t gotten to swing yet, and I wonder if he’s under orders not to. Oh, no, there he goes. Strikeout! End of top of second.
9:14. Dice-K bounces the first pitch of the half-inning off Garret Atkins. Hmm. Do I think that was intentional? With no outs in the inning and the game tied at zero, no. But with Jimenez all over the place last night, I would rather think Matsuzaka is protecting his batters than just…totally wild. Hawpe follows up with yet another strikeout. Ouch. Inning ends with no harm done.
9:23. Ellsbury leads off the third inning with a double. <Insert obligatory holy-crap-he’s-fast-observation here.> Pedroia follows it up with a bunt! He’s safe! I can’t believe it! I He would have been out if the throw hadn’t been high—Helton leaps to snag Torrealba’s throw, but if Helton had stayed on the bag and not gotten the ball, the ball would have sailed into right for a run.
9:25. David Ortiz allays our concerns with a double into right and the first RBI of the game! Ellsbury scores, Pedroia to third. They’re walking Manny Ramirez intetionally to load the bases with no outs. That’s a stupid move. Do they not know that Mikey Lowell was the RBI leader on the Sox during the regular season? Do they not know that when Mike Lowell does pushups, he actually pushes the earth down?
9:28. Lowell repays Fogg with a two-RBI single into center.
9:33. Drew has flied to center for the first out of the inning. The Red Sox bullpen/drum corps is continuing its antics. Varitek hits a bloop! Manny rounds third, flips off his helmet, heads home! Oh my God, he’s going to be out by eight feet. He’s out. Replay: Manny touches the base, but did Torrealba tag him first? NO! BAD CALL! BAD UMPIRE!
9:34. Dice-K raps a two-out single into left! Scores two runs! Bwahahahahaha. Take that, Josh Fogg. That that, umpire. Royce Clayton, mic-ed up for the game, cheers “Yay, Ichiro!”
9:35. With Ellsbury having his second at-bat of the inning, I can hear the Red Sox bullpen pounding away on their water bottles. Take that, towel-wielding fans! Ellsbury lofts one into the outfield and Dice-K scampers to third. He’s wearing his warm-up jacket! Is that even allowed?! Ellsbury is 3 for 3! He’s 2 for 2 in this inning! Clint Hurdle comes in to collect Josh Fogg, with 6 runs already on the board.
9:41. Morales relieves Fogg and gets the out to end the inning. For the record, after spending the previous postseason drinking good Boston brews such as Sam Adams and Harpoon (Octoberfest, natch) we’re drinking Coors chez Sarah tonight. Yes, Original Coors, in the “it turned blue!” bottles. I bet those labels cost more to make than the beer.
9:44. Nick would like you to know that Franklin Morales, who is leading off the inning, just lowered his World Series ERA to 63.00.
9:47. Fox continues its record for cultural sensitivity by showing a montage of Matsui, Okajima, and Matsuzaka, along with coverage in Japanese papers, to the tune of some kind of mystical-sounding Japanese music. They showed this same montage earlier in the Series. OH MY GOD MCCARVER IS STILL CALLING THAT PITCH THE GYROBALL. It’s not a gyroball! It’s a shuuto!!!! Get in the now, McCarver! It’s not an enigmatic, inscrutable, made-up pitch! It’s a real pitch! Quite popular in Japan! In Japan, where people are more likely to listen to techno music than freakin’ sitars, or whateverthefuck that music is. Gah!!!
9:50. Matsui strikes out, mercifully shutting up McCarver. A few moments later, Tulowitzki ends the inning with a groundout.
10:00, With one out (Ortiz ground out) Manny hits a bomb to centerfield. In Fenway, that’s gone. In Coors, it’s out number two. Mike Lowell is up again, and Ken Rosenthal is speculating about whether the Sox will really re-sign Lowell (Theo said he is “sure” they’ll figure something out) and pass on A-Rod. So far so good. But then Rosenthal adds the line, “Even if they don’t put him at third, they could put him at first” and causes me to vomit all over the keyboard. Lowell grounds out to end the top of the fourth. (Mike Lowell does not sleep. He waits.) Morales ERA update: 31.50.
10:07. A sharp liner from the bat of Holliday down the rightfield line! Ortiz is there! I suffer a minor heart attack! Ortiz has it! He “wins the footrace to the bag.” I think that is the first footrace David Ortiz has ever won in his life. From Nick: “The Red Sox radio guys are praising Papi’s defense! ‘Well, he doesn’t cover a lot of ground, but he makes up for it with cat-like reflexes.’ For serious?! CAT-LIKE?!? A cat just might be the last animal I would compare Big Papi to…” Indeed. More like a teddy bear.
10:12. Not that I’m seriously worried this point with the Red Sox up by a score of 6-0, but Dice-K is working with a 3-2 count against Todd Helton. Dice-K’s OBP on full counts is almost .500. Eek.
10:13. After a 12 pitch battle, Matsuzaka strikes out Helton looking on a breaking ball. I’m glad that so far, Matsuzaka’s breaking pitches seem to be working in this altitude. In fact, Dice-K seems right at home.
10:16. I’ve now seen Colorado fans in rainbow wigs, red satin pirate bandannas, and ridiculous, wide-brimmed hats. C’mon guys! This isn’t a Broncos game!
10:21. J.D Drew is up to bat against Morales. He becomes the last member of the Sox lineup to reach base with a wall-ball. And Joe Buck announces that Morales is only 21! Really?! Cause he looks, like, 35. I bet he never gets carded.
10:22. Given that it’s now the fifth inning (Varitek at bat, Drew on second) I wonder if we’ll see Youkilis take over at first. I mean, the Sox are six runs up, Youk’s been hot, and maybe Ortiz could rest that knee a bit for tomorrow.
10:25. The Rockies fans are now mostly silent, though there’s some ambient noise coming from the Sox fans in attendance. But I can hear the Red Sox bullpen banging away in the background. I wonder how the opposing team/bullpen/fans feel about that?
10:30. Dice-K is back at bat. I wonder if they’ll let him swing. On the one hand, you’ve got Drew on second. On the other, there are already two outs in the inning and the Sox, as mentioned above, still have a six run lead. He was wearing his jacket in the on-deck circle, but he’s not wearing it now. I wonder if they only let the pitcher wear it once he’s on base? Dice-K’s now hacking away. I guess that answers one question, but I’m still wondering about this jacket thing. Yikes! Matsuzaka grounds out to second, but carries his bat with him all the way to first! Oh, Daisuke. You so crazy!
10:34. Wow. An informing Fox graphic! In the Series, Rockies have allowed 21 runs, scored 2. Only four batters have reached third base. You know, everyone and his brother was picking Sox in five, but it’s looking increasingly likely that the Sox will sweep. Can you imagine if Jon Lester wins Game 4 for Boston? Last fall, he’s fighting cancer—this fall, he’s pitching the winning game in the World Series?! Now THAT’S a story.
10:37. Interview with John Farrell, Sox pitching coach. John Farrell really looks like he belongs in some old John Wayne movie. “Well, pardner, we just take it one day at a time and try to remember not to squat with our spurs on.”
10:41. Hawpe is in the dugout and looks like he’s praying. Given the Rockies’ rep, he could well be praying. MWAHAHAHAHA! YOUR GOD WILL NOT HELP YOU NOW!! EVIL BOSTON IS HERE TO CRUSH YOU WITH THEIR SINFUL WAYS! Hm. That wasn’t nice, Sarah. Not nice. That was the Coors Original talking.
10:43. McCarver is saying that was a nice play—grounder to Lugo, who bounces a throw to Lowell, who scoops it up to nab the lead runner and get the second out of the inning— but it was only a nice play because Lowell saved Lugo’s ass. I mean, who bounces that throw? He was like 20 feet away!
10:50. Ellsbury was just out by 0.15 steps at first base on what for any other guy would have been an easy-out grounder. I hope to see him regularly penciled in at leadoff next year. Mmmm Ellsbury.
10:53. So the Red Sox have finally busted out their cold-weather gear, which was not needed at all this year in global-warming-ified Beantown. Youk is wearing his grey hoodie, his giant parka, and huge, ridiculous gloves that look like oven mitts. With the goatee, he looks more like a Russian longshoreman than ever.
10:58. Bwahahaha. Youkilis is now in, and wearing short sleeves! I guess he just got back from Murmansk.
10:59. Is there a problem with Matsuzaka going to his neck so much? I mean, I know that spit is outlawed and blowing on his hand is regulated, but I’ve noticed him rubbing his neck a lot in previous outings, and tonight is no exception. What’s the deal with neck-sweat? Presumably, he can rub his own neck, because the umpire hasn’t made any kind of comment….but I assume if he called Youkilis over to the mound and started rubbing up the ball on Youk’s bald head, that could be a problem.
11:02. You know, I have to say, I’m surprised that the Rockies haven’t scored any runs yet. I really thought the Sox had a good chance to fall apart in this stadium.
11:04. In the whole Todd Helton vs Kevin Youkilis goatee “face-off” (get it? goatee? face-off??), I have to go with Helton. I mean, that thing is so glossy! He must use conditioner.
11:06. Oopsies. Dice-K’s “bad inning” has arrived at last. Two consecutive walks with one out, and Terry Francona will go to the bullpen….with Okajima unavailable, who will he go to? Why it’s—-JAVIER LOPEZ? OH GOD PLEASE NO.
11:09. So Lopez throws a meatball up there to Hawpe, who has done nothing all series, and he singles home Helton. One pitch, one RBI. Fantastic.
11:10. McCarver is buying into the lefty-v-lefty matchup, saying that if Lopez can get past Torrealba, he’ll face Sullivan. Obviously he hasn’t looked at Lopez’s splits—lefties hit almost 100 points better against “lefty specialist” Lopez!
11:12. Lopez gives up another hit and another RBI. This must be the “bunching hits” that were the key to the game for the Rockies. Um, Tito? You want to take Lopez out now? Ah, here comes Terry. Lopez never should have been in there. Lopez didn’t even belong on the World Series roster.
11:15. Lopez has been relieved by Timlin. Spilborghs is pinch-hitting. I have to say, Spilborghs isn’t who I’d call upon, based in his performance this series.
11:17. Spilborghs makes contact! Way back! WAY BACK! And it’s a Coors Field flyout. Phew.
11:20. Timlin isn’t getting the calls on that outside corner.
11:21. OH SNAP! Lugo’s got ups!!! Lugo makes his defensive play of the season! That snare was so awesome, I assumed an out-of-position Dustin Pedroia had made it! Holy Jesus!
11:22. I just shouted “OH SNAP.” I also shouted it based on something Julio Lugo had done. What is happening? Where am I? What year is it?
11:23. Hmm, they just showed Oki warming in the ‘pen. Considering the amount of work he did in Game 2, and given that he was “fatigued” in September, I’m surprised to see that. I wonder if he will actually come in. With a fresh inning, I’d like to see Manny Delcarmen against these Rockies. I know he sort of sucked against the Indians, but his fastball is blistering and this is a whole new ballclub. Plus, I bet he’d benefit from a shot at redemption here.
11:28. Well the Rockies have finally found the pitcher they are looking for Matt Herges, who strikes out Boston’s 4 and 5 hitters to start the 7th. And, obviously, the Rockies fans are back into this game with a vengeance.
11:30. Wow. Drew strikes out. Herges has struck out the side. There go those white towels! Question: why would you wave white flag-looking-things to pump up your team?
11:33. 7th inning stretch and God Bless America. I think Philip Bailey’s voice is higher than Carrie Underwood’s.
11:38. Timlin takes the hill again for the Sox and Matsui gets the inning started with a leadoff bunt. Matsui promptly steals second. Goddamn National League smallball! Goddamn you and your pure simple elegance!
11:39. There’s a man dressed as a Teletubby in the stands. A Teletubby in a Rockies uniform. Now it all makes sense.
11:40. Timlin gives up another hit. From Nick: “He throws a very straight 89 mph fastball—not a good pitch to be throwing in Coors.” Looks like Okajima will be coming in. This makes me nervous.
11:41. Ooh, a double switch! Now this *is* exotic! Crisp in for Drew, who made the last out. Crisp comes in at center and pushes Ellsbury to right.
11:43. Great. Okajima gives up a home run to Holliday. Three runs cross home plate. One-run game now.
11:47. Full count on Todd Helton. Women in stands wearing sparkly devil horns. Obviously did not get memo about pious nature of Rockies.
11:48. Helton hits a line drive base hit. Can Tito please rescue Okajima now? He never should have been in there!
11:49. Still no one out here in the 7th. Tying run is at first base. Ugh ugh ugh. Francona’s decision to remove Matsuzaka, in hindsight, is looking hasty. So far, Dice-K was the only Sox pitcher who was at all effective in this game. Could it be because the Sox shipped him out a day early to acclimate to the altitude?
11:51. This would be a great time for the Red Sox to turn a double play. (Understatement of the night.)
11:52. Or a strikeout. Garret Atkins goes down swinging. Here comes Hawpe.
11:54. Random digression totally inappropriate to the tension of this moment: my God, the Rockies’ uniforms are hideous. They look like a hodgepodge of other teams’ outfits: some pinstriped pants from the Yankees, some newfangled vests from the Devil Rays, a hideous font I’m pretty sure I’ve seen in Toronto, a lot of black borrowed from the Pirates, and a dash of purple nipped from the old Diamondbacks uniforms. It’s like a Frankenstein’s monster of baseball uniformage.
11:57. After a lengthy at bat, Hawpe strikes out. Sarah exhales. But only for a moment. Torrealba digs in.
Midnight. Torrealba ground a 2-2 pitch weakly back to Okajima. Inning over. Sarah runs around room a few times to work out the adrenaline.
12:08. Varitek grounds out, but Lugo draws a walk. Crisp comes up for his first at bat in several games. (Like that specificity? Several games! Hey, at least I’m not like Buck and McCarver, throwing numbers out there and then revising them. “That his first at-bat in 5 games…no, sorry, 4. Oh wait, excuse me, I mean 6.”) I’d like to see Lugo steal here.
12:10. Crisp singles! Lugo to second! Can red hot rookie Ellsbury knock ‘em in?? WHY YES! YES HE CAN! A ball just thismuch fair down the right field line and Brad Hawpe makes a flashy, sliding, non-catch.
12:12. Rookie of the Year up with two in scoring posish and 1 out. Pedroia hits a bullet to right! That’s two runs across and Pedroia into second. Take that, Rockies, you and your dang feel-good story.
12:15. It’s official: Ellsbury and Pedroia will be your 1-2 hitters next year, and Ellsbury officially has the second-biggest eyebrows in baseball. (The only reason they’re not bigger than Mike Lowell’s? Because Ellsbury’s eyebrows are afraid of what Mike Lowell’s eyebrows would do if they ever felt threatened.)
12:16. Youk grounds out to first. Manny sidles into the batter’s box. 1-0. 2-0. 2-1. Manny skies it to end the inning, but the Sox score three times to extend their lead to 9-5.
12:22. Is it just me or are these commercial breaks getting longer? I mean, fine. I’ll buy the Transformers DVD and the nachos bel grande (with the chili) and the #$%^@#$ truck. Just let me get back to the game!
12:23. Back to the game. Delcarmen in. Runs to a 3-1 count against Spilborghs, who then skies it to right where Ellsbury reels it in.
12:24. They just showed the replay of Lugo’s amazing leaping catch (the “OH SNAP!” catch). The more I think about it, the more I realize that he was just saving up his defensive ability all season long, waiting to deploy en masse it when the team needed it most. Oh wise Lugo! How I’ve wronged thee!
12:27. Taveres hits it hard but right at Pedroia for the second out of the inning. That was on another full count. So far, Delcarmen has been effective, but also lucky. He’s hardly dominating these guys. Sigh. And Matsui has just rapped his third hit of the night.
12:29. So two gone in the 8th, and a man on first with, arguably, the NL Rookie of the Year at the plate in the person of Troy Tulowitzki. Sherriff Farrell saunters out to the mound to calm down his young gunslinger. Delcarmen hurls it in there for a strike on the outside part of the plate. 2-1. The next pitch is low. 3-1. This is, by my count, Delcarmen’s third 3-1 count of the inning, in four batters. And Tulowitzki walks.
12:32. Unsurprisingly, Delcarmen is out and Papelbon, who has finally warmed up on this cold night, is in. Surprisingly, Terry Francona is also lifting Pedroia and putting in Alex Cora. I guess this is so Cora can hit in the pitcher’s spot. (Thanks, Nick. Cause Buck and McCarver sure aren’t going to explain that.) Gosh this National League stuff is weird.
12:35. Papelbon versus Holliday. This is why we watch, folks. And the NL MVP hits a towering fly ball to left, where Manny catches it easily. In Fenway, that’s a three-run jack.
12:39. Mike Lowell gets things going in the top of the 9th with a single. Alex Cora bunts him to second. Mike Lowell doesn’t run slowly. It’s just that he has to carry the weight of his integrity.
12:41. Lowell steals third! No throw. Mike Lowell has a permanent five o’clock shadow because his stubble is actually made of titanium, and Gillette doesn’t make a razor sharp enough to shave it.
12:43. Deep fly ball by Varitek. Lowell tags and scores. Mike Lowell doesn’t hit the ball. The ball runs from Mike Lowell.
12:44. Lugo ends the inning. Papelbon tugs his cap back on and steps out of the dugout. Three outs to go.
12:46. My other friend Nick (so many Nicks!) adds this: “No one expects the Spanish Inquisition. Or Mike Lowell stealing third.”
12:48. Papelbon gives the T-1000 stare into Helton. 0-1. 1-1. Pap nods, kicks, deals. Helton skies it, Ellsbury has it. One down.
12:49. The Rockies mascot is a triceratops??
12:50. 0-1 to Atkins. He fouls off a pitch, making it 0-2. Papelbon throws a belt high pitch that doesn’t look like a strike to the home plate umpire. Whatever. I’m not going to argue when it’s 10-5 in the bottom of the 9th. And Atkins slaps a broken-bat grounder to Lowell, who easily throws to first for the out.
12:52. Pap throws a rare first-pitch ball to Hawpe, then evens the count. Pap goes ahead 1-2, and then juuuust misses to make it 2-2. Hawpe hammers the next pitch into right, where it rattles around as Ellsbury gets lost in the cavernous Coors outfield.
12:55. Nonetheless, Papelbon shatters Torrealba’s bat and induces a groundout to end the game. Sox are up 3-0 in the series. And after 4 hours and 19 minutes, this one is over.
But before I go, as promised, here’s a funny picture of Coley. That is some serious UFH, Ward!