Sorry fellow Red Sox fans, it needs to be said . . . the better team won the ALCS last night. The Tampa Bay Rays are younger, stronger, healthier and probably better managed than the Sox. The experience and broad skills of the Red Sox almost overcame those factors, but just fell short this year.
The series was excellent. Great games, great pitching and clutch hitting. Last night’s top of the eighth inning was indicative of it. The Sox loaded the bases and Joe Maddon, manager of the Rays, masterfully used five different pitchers to get his team out of the inning unscathed. The Red Sox certainly had their chances in the deciding game of the series, with men on base and even in scoring position several times – only to be left stranded by a combination of good pitching by the Rays and less than optimal hitting by the Sox.
Lest I seem cavalier or uncaring about the loss, as a card-carrying member of Red Sox Nation, I’m distraught. To see Big Papi flailing at low pitches and Jason Veritek basically useless with a bat in his hands makes want to cry. After losing three games straight in the series, I tried to dismiss my team to avoid an emotional breakdown. As usual, the Sox roared back and gave me hope only to make me have a bigger breakdown after the eighth inning last night – when it was clearly over.
In any event, thanks to the Boston Red Sox for a fun season. The team is always a blast to watch and Red Sox games are a centerpiece for my summer activities. I look forward to another successful season in 2009.
Was that the last time we’ll see Jason Veritek in a Red Sox uniform?