Originally posted on The Sports Post  |  Last updated 10/16/13
The Red Sox were in trouble. Down 5-0 with two outs in the sixth inning and still without a hit, things looked bleak for the Boston Red Sox. Detroit Tigers Game 2 starter and probable Cy Young winner, Max Scherzer, was dealing, throwing a no-hitter through 5 2/3 innings and was showing why he is the favorite to win the Cy Young Award striking out 13 Red Sox batters in seven innings. In danger of going down two games to none and heading to Detroit to face Justin Verlander, the Tigers' Game 3 starter, they needed to win Game 2. But down 5-0 and looking overmatched at the plate by Tigers pitching, managing only one hit in 14 2/3 innings, a comeback seemed unlikely. There was no way the Red Sox were going to come back right? With two outs in the bottom of the sixth inning, Red Sox right fielder Shane Vicorino finally got Boston in the hit column with a line drive base hit up the middle. Next batter, Dustin Pedroia hit a wall ball double to score Victorino all the way from first who was running on the pitch. The Red Sox showed some life. But was it too little too late? According to ESPN Stats & Info Twitter account, the Red Sox win probability with one out in the bottom of the eighth inning was 3.8 percent. Red Sox third baseman Will Middlebrooks doubled down the left field line. Ellsbury then followed that up with a walk. After a strikeout of Victorino with runners on first and second with one out, second baseman Pedroia hit a sharp single to right field to load the bases with two outs and Big Papi David Ortiz coming up, representing the tying run. Tigers manager Jim Leyland then summoned his closer Joaquin Benoit to get the four out save. A four out save that he would not get. And almost on cue, Ortiz deposited the first pitch he saw from Benoit into the Red Sox bullpen for a game tying grand slam. Just like that, the Tigers 5-1 lead was erased with one swing of the bat. At that point, it was only a matter of time before the Red Sox would walk-off with the Game 2 victory. Not only was David Ortiz’s game tying grand slam a game changer, it was a series changer as it shifted all of the momentum from the Tigers to the Red Sox. It's amazing how the Red Sox bats have been so overmatched by Detroit’s starting pitching, yet they find themselves up in the series 2-1. Up until that fateful eighth inning, the Red Sox were 3-51 with 30 strikeouts. The Boston bats were lifeless and anemic. Just like how the Tigers exploded for four runs of their own back in the top of the sixth inning, the Red Sox offense exploded with one deadly swing from Big Papi in the eighth. The saying goes, “Momentum is the next day’s starter.” With Verlander set to pitch in Game 3 the Tigers looked to prove that saying right. But instead Red Sox Game 3 starter John Lackey proved that saying correct — for Boston. Lackey was brilliant Tuesday afternoon pitching 6 2/3 innings of shutout baseball giving up only four hits and striking out eight, outdueling Verlander, who himself continued his postseason dominance striking out 10 through eight innings, except for one mistake he made to Red Sox first baseman, Mike Napoli on a 3-2 pitch. That mistake proved to be the difference in the game as the Red Sox held on to another nail biting victory to take Game 3 and go up two games to one on the Tigers in the ALCS. The fact that the Red Sox were able to win both games that Scherzer and Verlander started have given the Red Sox additional momentum boost and confidence moving forward. The Sox have Jake Peavy going in Game 4 and Lester in Game 5. The Sox have taken back home field advantage, and if they are able to beat Doug Fister Wednesday they have a chance to end it in Detroit. It's amazing how the Red Sox bats have been so overmatched by Detroit’s starting pitching, yet they find themselves up in the series 2-1. The Game 2 winner in a seven-game series has gone on to win the series 78 percent of the time. The Red Sox have just taken Game 3 and have all the momentum in the world. I have a feeling that they are going to keep it.
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