Not much more needs to be said, other than "not much more needs to be said." The winner gets to momentum-crush the Phillies in the World Series. Airing (maybe) on TBS, it's Jon "The" Lester for Boston and Matt "Game 7 Scheduled Pitcher" Garza hurlin' fastballs at their respective catchers. It's jump or go home. * * *Top 9th 1
311:46 — Now Sager can go back and finish his fireside chat with LaMar. But he'll settle for David Price. Not asked: "how do you throw that fast?" and "what weighs more: the entire team jumping on you, or YOUR MOM?" M'kay. I'm done. Look at this website when the Rays-Phillies [shiver] ratchets up Wednesday night. And whether you're a Tampa native or a Bostonian, we can all agree that the nation wins because Frank TV ads have kicked the proverbial bucket. Good night, Internet! 11:44 — B.J. Upton gets interviewed by Craig Sager while wearing a championship hat in the least fashionable way possible. 11:40 — Jed Lowrie finished the ALDS with a ground ball to the right side. He finishes the ALCS off almost the same way, but the opposite. The ball gets snurfed up by Iwamura, who handles the forceout himself. Ballgame over. Red Sox season over. So I've been meaning to ask this question for all of four seconds now: why is the team that signed Greg Vaughn all those years ago going to the World Series? I may never get over that. 11:38 — Jason Varitek does what the other guy did, which is strike out. And maybe he no longer plays for Boston because the rumors will be too much for him that he'll accidentally sign with Kansas City. Good luck! 11:36 — I always wondered if a spider knows that an apartment dweller notices him for about five minutes before he gets squished. On a related note, David Price demolishes Mark Kotsay on a 2-2 fastball on the outside hemisphere of the strike zone. 11:34 — Leadoff walks are good, right? Well, Jason Bay has himself one. 11:31 — Price remains pitching, and his first one to Jason Bay? Down the middle, 95 mph. Kwalité beginning. Two pitches later he puts Bay to the dirt with an inside fastball. God loves a fast wild-throwing rookie pitcher who doesn't know just how big this moment is for him. Or maybe that's just sportswriters. I get the two confused, what with Bill Plaschke's heavenly celestial stubble. Commercial Break October Gonzo reminds us AT THIS POINT IN THE GAME that this month is very important to the sport of baseball. Good information! Bottom 8th 1
311:28 — All the interesting things happened in the other part of the inning. Hope you're fine with Tampa Bay going down submissively in this part of the inning to the arm of Hideki Okajima. Thank you in advance for understanding. But it looks like David Price will remain chucking ninetysomethings to the catcher to aim for the four-out save. 11:24 — Ahhh, that was fun. Oh, wait, there's still a game going on? Back To the 8th 11:19 — Sweet buttery fuck. You can just hear Dioner Navarro channeling his inner Jake Taylor after those first two blazin' strikes. "Well, shit, all these pitches choose from. Maybe we'll try somethin' different this time." J.D. Drew leaves the men on base with a rather emasculating strikeout. 11:18 — The Tampan response to Joba Chamberlain (but without the booze), David Price, will try and get the second out. Commercial Break There's not at all a racial element to this Axe commercial with the chocolate man being adored and smooched by all those pretty girls. But one thing's for sure. Ken Rosenthal thinks he won't sign with Boston anytime soon. Top 8th 11:15 — After digging out of a 3-0 hole, Bradford's riseball lands inside for the walk to load the bases. Now Bradford's done. 11:14 — Everything's inside for a ball, Chad. Might want to try standing juuust a couple inches to the left. Alternate suggestion: throw the damn ball like a man. 11:12 — Chad Bradford will stand on the mound instead of Howell now. 11:09 — After the baseball equivalent of a Catholic wedding, Ortiz stops fouling off pitches and just grounds into a forceout. It would've been bases loaded and one out had Crisp actually slid toward the bag, instead of an arbitrary point on the side of the infield where a hallucinatory candy bar was lying. Damn those Floridians and their magic Whatchamacalit holograms! 11:04 — If any doctors are watching this game in HD, please note the curious-shaped wart on the left side of Joe Maddon's neck. There's money to be had in that co-pay. 11:03 — J.P. Howell, known to his wife as Thurston, will be the lefty to face David Ortiz. 11:02 — If you wanted to see more of Wheeler's pitching shenanigans, you'll have to wait until either Wednesday or next April. 11:01 — Remember that basement? Well, Pedroia's fly ball would have bore a hole in the ceiling, gone through his dad's Persian rug, his mom's leather purse, his dog's water dish, and really caused some chaos in the Pedroia household. He'd have been grounded. But now he's a big boy, and he just makes an out without advancing any runners. 10:59 — Mmm. Crispy. Coco's single begins the rally. But don't worry, Rays fans! All you have coming up next are Pedroia, Ortiz, and Bay! None of them are known for their hitting accolades! 10:57 — Wheeler enjoys shaking his mitt like he's at the craps table. Which, if we get the Game 5 Wheeler, will be exactly what he does in the crucial 8th. 10:55 — Dan Wheeler is now on the mound. Ron Darling asks if we'll see the Dan Wheeler from Game 2, or the one from Game 5? He recklessly rules out the Wheeler from Captain Planet.
10:52 — Cora's ground ball in-dispenses between Jason Bartlett's legs. That'll end Garza's night of settling. 10:51 — Garza's at 116 pitches, and he's still in there firing away. So, I guess we won't be seeing him pitching in the World Series regardless. 10:51 — Gabe Gross, please replace Rocco Baldelli in right fi... oh, you already did. Well then. Bottom 7th 1
310:48 — Bartlett flies out to center, so I think we can stop talking about the seventh now. It's over. Stop livin' in the past. 10:46 — Baldelli runs away from the mess he made at home plate by striking out, but they force him out regardless. Another suspect off the basepaths. 10:44 — Navarro helps Lester settle back into ... into, um, something, with a flyout to right. 10:39 — Lester has a lot of settlin' in to do. Oh, just kidding ... Willy Aybar borrowed Matt Stairs' mythical fat dude power for one solo home run to left field. Hey, Chip, do you think he hit that so far it went to Tampa? [snort] Seventh Inning Stretch Entertainment As is the case with any Weebl's video production, watching their Flash video on a loop (when you're drunk/stoned/lonely) is the most effective method.
Top 7th 10:35 — We got a great big cowbell ♬ ain't she a beautiful sight? (Actually, it's quite annoying. Stop that.) Captain Varitek affects the game by stranding two batters on a strikeout. 10:33 — All Kotsay could do was move Drew up one (1) base with a sac fly to right. Attractive wife is satiated. 10:31 — Joe Maddon came out to tell Matt Garza that Dick Vitale is in the stands, so not to worry, because even if you blow it, he'll still think you're a superb P-T-P pitcher with the E-R-A that's A-O-K in his book, baby. 10:28 — This is probably the opposite of being settled in. A walk to Drew and a hit by Bay quickly demotes Garza from "Settled In" to "Slightly Jittery But Still Within Arms Reach Of Settled." (Note: These are all technical baseball terms, which is why most of you have not heard of them.) 10:26 — Garza will try and increase from Very Settled In all the way to Diamond VIP Übersettled In, and Youkilis pops up. That'll help. Bottom 6th 1
210:22 — Crawford's fly ball ends the inning, and ratches up the "settling of in." Dick Vitale's mood has been downgraded from Cocaine Metamucil to Caffeinated Fixodent. 10:20 — In response to Garza's settling in, Jon Lester will try and raise the bar to SuperDouble Settled In. Speedy outs by Peña and Longoria help him reach his goal. Commercial Break If Brooke Shields' parents hadn't wanted to by a Volkswagen car, we might have have avoided this series of mind-numbing Routan commercials. Top 6th 10:14 — The line between David Ortiz and Mo Vaughn is starting to blur in this game. Ortiz feels the gaseous wrath of a high fastball, and Pedroia's aortic energy can't outrun Navarro's throw to second on the stolen base. Good thing I don't place bets on a whim, else I'd have been out money thinking that Boston was going to tie it up in this inning. Seriously, when Tampa had a one-run deficit, you didn't see them climbing that hill. But a one-run lead in this game for Boston, you expect it to be equalized the moment someone reaches base. I have no idea where this feeling is coming from. But just to be sure, have Craig Sager stay the hell away from Chuck LaMar. 10:12 — What a circulatory performance. Maybe Pedroia should be the grant marshal for next year's Boston Heart Walk. 10:10 — Pedroia keeps lunging at these pitches with all his widdle might, fighting them off like Rudy getting his ass tackled by bigger, stronger, more capable men. In summary: heart. 10:08 — So when Fox uses a blue comet to track a hockey puck, it's frowned upon. When TBS uses it to replay a pitch in relation to their computerized strike zone, it's lauded as brilliant TV. Good to know for when I launch my 24-hour curling cable news network and have to make important executive decisions on bluecometry. 10:05 — Coco Crisp just got underhand throw'ned. 10:03 — Driving the point home, Garza has indeed settled in. The game is no longer baseball. It's a settle-off. You know the rules.
Bottom 5th 1
29:59 — Footage of Upton's home run off Lester in Game 3! Bring us back to now, when Upton hits a home run if he was in a petting zoo, and only a really underfunded one at that. The liner falls harmlessly into Cora's glove, and Lester escapes with just one run added to his stat column. 9:57 — Iwamura's ground ball travels about 2.18 Pedroias in length, but that's just as good as a bunt, and with two men in scoring position there's a two-out RBI chance for B.J. Upton. 9:56 — "Momentum" may have "shifted," as Chip Caray notes, but if this is ALL the Rays get this inning, it's a pendulum that goes back to Boston's dugout. Bartlett indispensably goes down on strikes. 9:53 — Rocco Baldelli gets a base hit almost where Navarro's infieldt hit was, only it squeaks through. Aybar rounds and scores. Camera spot on Dick Vitale having either a seizure or celebrating the Rays 2-1 lead. It's really a toss-up at this point, but weigh better odds on the latter if someone told Vitale that the Rays are being guest-managed by Mike Krzyzewski. 9:51 — It's an infield hit by a catcher. Which is just as good as an intentional walk. Or an intentional hit by pitch. Or a dropsied pop fly. They're all acceptable. 9:47 — Willy Aybar digs out a double with his magic stick of wood. He also pulled out a plum, but tossed it aside since nursery rhyme allusions don't help win ball games. But the leadoff double helped. Top 5th 9:42 — Now Matt Garza is "settled in," not to be confused with how I've been settled into my couch for the last three days doing absolutely jack shit. Because it might seem like Garza and I have the same levels of athletic talent. Garza gets through the inning untouched. HE HAS A PERFECT GAME THROUGH SINCE THE LAST TIME HE LET SOMEONE GET ON BASE. Commercial Break When the Venetians arrive to this planet, in 2018, go back in time, and look at the commercials aired during the ALCS, they'll think that all baseball fans can't get natural erections or piss properly on their own. They'll also think that Frank Caliendo is this generation's Jack Benny, once they are informed by our ambassador who that was. Bottom 4th 1
19:35 — Crawford won't be running to first after all. A leisurely walk back to the dugout to retrieve his mitt will suffice. 9:34 — It was nice of Youkilis to test the green wall's consistency in foul territory by sliding into it, but unfortunately the great diving play was thwarted by the fact that the ball didn't land anywhere near him. 9:32 — When Longoria gets an RBI, the Rays tend to win. PRESSURE ON THE ROOKIE. But the pressure worked, as Longoria's double scoots down into the right field corner and Carlos Peña does his best Sid Bream impression seven innings too early, tying up the game. 9:29 — The shoulda-had-a-V8 ground ball isn't strong enough to start a double play, but Iwamura gets punched out at second. 9:28 — Chip notes how "there would be bedlam in St. Pete" if Peña were to hit a home run here. Isn't the problem the last 2½ games that they keep trying to hit home runs instead of just trying to reach base? 9:26 — Upton can forget about breaking up another no-hitter. He'll just strike out instead. 9:24 — Eye of newt! That's what the jinx was missing. The final ingredient finally dropped into the stew, and Iwamura's single breaks the perfect no-hitter. 9:23 — We now return you to Jon Lester's potential perfect game, already in progress, starring TBS's Chip, Ron, and Buck as the three witches from Hocus Pocus. Top 4th 9:20 — Garza strikes out Bay, and saunters back to the dugout like he just won a Golden Tee tournament at the local bar. 9:18 — JD Drew, popping up to somewhere besides second base? Forget it! 9:17 — Longoria tried his darndest to errantly throw to first, but Peña quashes the effort with the scoop, getting Youkilis the hell out of there. Bottom 3rd 1
09:11 — He's still mentioning it after every at bat. Bartlett pops up, and that's ... NINE IN A ROW! 9:10 — Rocco Baldelli v. Jon Lester. It's a disease-off. Remission Showdown. Winner gets to turn their story into a Lifetime movie. And the winner ... Lester, who strikes Baldelli out looking. 9:09 — Dioner Navarro doesn't come close to that fastball. He's settled in. He's retired seven straight. Chip Caray is throwing every morsel of jinxdom and hexdom he can find in the press box down to the pitcher's mound. Nothing's working. 9:06 — It's the first time any pitcher has gone perfect through two innings this series. Watch your back, Don Larsen! Top 3rd 9:03 — Garza won't let a little thing like Pedroia stealing second, a move which anthropologists agree helped advance ancient groundhog societies by 53 percent, stop him from striking out David Ortiz, which apparently you can do again this postseason. 8:59 — Pedroia gets plunked right on his heart. Because he wears it on his sleeve, you see. That's the joke. He's not even going to show that he's hurt. He's lying about his pain. THAT'S WHY HE'S A GREAT PLAYER. (Or, hey, maybe it stung just as much as any other fastball to the delts.) 8:59 — Dustin Pedroia's maternal grandfather was a groundhog, right? 8:57 — Crisp was left out in the pantry, became all stale and mushy, and struck out. 8:54 — Nice try, Alex Cora. A Sarah-Plain-And-Tall fly ball to left is all the No. 9 hitter could muster. Bottom 2nd 1
08:49 — HE STILL HAS A PERFECT GAME!! Lester causes Willy Aybar to ground to Youkilis. 8:48 — Eh, I wasn't interested in Carl Crawford making contact anyway. 8:46 — Tampa's not happy with a high 3-0 pitch ruled a strike, and Evan Longoria responds in protest by grounding out to short. That'll show 'em! Commercial Break The BlackBerry Storm. Brought to you by David Chase. Top 2nd 8:42 — IMPACT strikeout. 8:41 — Jason Varitek's free agency rumors? Why, let's square that one down. 8:39 — As noted by Buck Martinez and Jason Varitek, the catcher can go hitless (phew!) and still make an impact. Maybe I should have gone into the business as a catching shortstop. 8:37 — That's why they pay Jason Bartlett the big ... uh, er, patonthebacks. Mark Kotsay's scorching line-drive/ground ball hybrid up the middle gets snarfed up by Bartlett. 8:36 — Jason Bay gets a lot of two-out RBI. So with one out and nobody on base, surely that means that he'll do absolutely nothing. Well, he did barely swing at strike three. I guess that counts. Garza's earplugs are finally out, which means he can finally hear Ron Darling talk about him. Commercial Break It's bad enough we have to endure these political ads. But we also have to endure local political ads, causing me to ask the obvious question: "wait, which one's the incumbent?" Bottom 1st 1
08:31 — There was a time when the Tigers acquired Carlos Peña and Jeremy Bonderman in the same trade. Aren't we glad they kept the right one! Hahaha! [stabs wall with butter knife] Jon Lester keeps the perfect game intact by striking him out. 8:26 — BJ Upton is one home run shy of the single-postseason record of eight, held by Barry Bonds and Carlos Beltran. They share the record every other week, because, well, it's not like they have any rings to admire. Upton now has 7½ home runs this postseason, because his opposite field shot lands safely in the glove of JD Drew. 8:24 — Akinori Iwamura? Cut. DOWN. 8:23 — Here's Lester's TBS© scouting report: "Extra Days Rest," "Cut Fastball," "Game 7." Based on that, he's pitching tonight and he throws at least one kind of pitch. Use at your own discretion, Willy Aybar! Top 1st 8:19 — JD Drew and I have something in common. He struck out while everyone was looking, then tried to run away from it crying. What? 8:16 — There appears to be an entire clan of second baseman living in Kevin Youkilis's beard. That's why he was so late on that swing, but it almost landed in the right field warning dirt. Rocco Baldelli jettisoned enough of that "mysterious illness" to catch the slicing fly ball, and Ortiz "runs" back to first to avoid the double-up. 8:15 — David Ortiz, inspired by Dustin Pedroia's combination of heart and pancreas, takes a ball four. 8:11 — Dustin Pedroia practiced hitting home runs in his basement, where the ceiling was ten feet high. That's why the home run never went above that threshold, and Boston takes the quick lead. 8:10 — Garza's rocking the earplugs for the game. Good thing he doesn't play a sport in which communication was inspired by mimes and vaudeville. Coco Crisp's leadoff bunt sacrificed the Shadow Man on first to second. One out. Pregame 8:08 — And the Sager coat watch has been decreased to: striped gray. Weak, weak, weak selection. 8:07 — Matt Garza's scouting report is limited to three words per bullet point. Fun fact: The Orioles actually use the TV scouting reports and nothing else to prepare for baseball games. 8:03 — Sign in Tampa: RAYS + TROP = VICTORY. Home record in the ALCS: 1-2. Which equals negative one. Divide by pi.
Pre-Game Babble Much like the Phillies' unblemished record in official Deadspin-sanctioned live blogs, the Boston Red Sox haven't lost-a one either. They're 3-0, dating back to the 2007 World Series. If you wanted other probabilities, Tom Verducci notes that it's a 50-50 shot, and AccuScore will trump the human predictor, saying Boston's a 51-49 favorite. No supercomputers have honed down the prediction to the nearest thousandth of a percentage point yet, mostly because they've all been repossessed due to scientists not making their payments, and repo-men are using them to predict if they'll get laid tonight. Boston's starting lineup: 1. CF Coco "Riboflavin" Crisp 2. 2B Dustin "Groundhog" Pedroia 3. DH David "Poppyseed" Ortiz 4. 3B Kevin "I Stole Julio Franco's Batting Stance" Youkilis 5. RF J.D. "Clutch Three Games A Year" Drew 6. LF Jason "Being" Bay 7. 1B Mark "How's Your Wife" Kotsay 8. C Jason "Sweet, Not Ninth Anymore" Varitek 9. SS Alex "Sojo" Cora Tampa Bay's lineup: 1. 2B Akinori "最初の野球選手" Iwamura 2. CF B.J. "Bounces Over His Head" Upton 3. 1B Carlos "The Lesser Tilde" Peña 4. 3B Evan "Quick, Throw It To First" Longoria 5. LF Carl "I'm Not Leadoff Anymore?" Crawford 6. DH Willy "Which One Am I Again" Aybar 7. C Dioner "Geovany" Navarro 8. RF Rocco "I Got Better" Baldelli 9. SS Jason "Sandlot Slugger" Bartlett Bingo hall's lineup: