Red Sox into ALCS Final
So a fairy tale week of Baseball saw the Boston Red Sox dispose of the Tampa Bay Rays in the ALCS Semi Finals. The best of five series was over in four fiercely contested battles, for which a Lobaton inspired Walk Off Homer in Game 3 spared the Rays of a White Wash for Boston.
Game 1 saw Jon Lester square up
Against Matt Moore at Fenway Park. A tight opening saw the Rays take a 2-0 lead heading into the bottom of the 4th inning. It was at this point that the game was blown away with an explosive eight run blast. Five runs in the 4th and Three in the 5th helped by hits from Pedroia, Ortiz and Gomes whose monster hit bounced off the Green Monster to bring in a double. The Rays spirit was blown away and with Four more runs coming in the 8th the rout was complete. Lester threw 7 2/3 innings with 114 pitches in one of his strongest games this season. The only runs for the Rays came off two homers with a final score of 12-2 to Boston. 1-0 Boston heading into Game 2….
Saturday night saw John Lackey take the mound in a battle against David Price. Unlike the first game, Boston found themselves ahead from the 1st inning. David Ortiz hit his first homer of the night in the 2nd inning and by the time this game reached the 5th inning, Boston were 5-1 up and looking to put the hapless Rays to the sword. James Loney hit a double to bring the Rays back to within 2 runs, before Jacoby Ellisbury who had a three hit game brought one back in for the Red Sox. Ortiz who beamed about feeling like 20 again hit his second home run of the night in the 8th, as the Red Sox won 7-4 and headed to Tropicana Fields with a 2-0 series lead. Special mention to Uehara who threw 11 strikes from 11 pitches to claim the save in the 9th inning.
Monday night saw the Red Sox travel to Tampa Bay with a series whitewash in their sights. Clay Buchholz faced up against Alex Cobb as the tension started to build around Tropicana Fields. A win would keep the Rays alive, whilst a win for Boston would see them through to their first ALCS Final since 2008. The game started positively as the Red Sox saw themselves grind out a 3-0 lead heading into the bottom of the 5th before the Rays hit back. Clay who pitched 6 innings was unfortunate on his way to 114 pitches. Despite heading into the top of the 9th inning 4-3 down, Boston came back to drive in a tying run. Step up Lobaton who hit the walk off homer to take the series into a 4th game.
It was up to Jake Peavy on Tuesday night to bring home the Red Sox as tensions grew on from last nights walk off defeat. The Tampa Bay crowd proved a hostile bunch as a full house hoped to take this back to Boston for a decider. 5 closely fought innings saw no score before the Rays brought in the opening run in the bottom of the 6th inning through Escobar. It was in the top of the 7th that the Red Sox hit back through Ellsbury and Bogaerts and a pinch hit from Bogaerts saw the series clinching run scored in the 9th. Uehara threw a 1-2-3 9th inning including Longoria to end the series. The scenes of jubilation that followed were a fitting chapter as the season moves on into the ALCS Final.
Boston now awaits the winner of Detroit and Oakland as their series is locked at 2-2. I am not sure who I’d rather see us play, however with the first games at Fenway Park it’s really a case of who would rather take on the Red Sox. Either way there is a welcome break until Saturday when the teams square up for Game 1 at Fenway Park.
Go Boston!! The dream continues…..