It never gets old does it; grown men wearing goggles showering each other in beer and champagne. No this isn't an episode of the Road Rules vs Real World Challenge, the Boston Red Sox have clinched their 5th playoff spot in the last 6 years. Now that the whispering of the Yankees not being mathematically eliminated from playoff contention has ended the Sox campaign to defend their World Series can begin.
The Sox took it to probable Cy Young winner Cliff Lee, scoring 5 runs on 9 hits in Lee's 7 innings of work tonight. Lee had won 11 straight games, dating back to July. Kevin Youkilis hit a two run home run and Dustin Pedroia had a two run double that tied the game in the bottom of the 5th. Jason Bay put the sox ahead 5-4 with a single scoring Dusty from second.
The Bullpen was shaky, loading the bases in the 7th and 8th innings. Okajima was able to bail out Delcarmen in the 7th, and in the process is returning to last seasons form with another solid outing. Masterson continued to struggle throwing strikes, however Papelbon came in for a 4 out save, his 41st of the year.
NESN covered the the post game celebration as players poured champagne and beer over one another in the locker room. Highlight of the celebration had to be Heidi Watney getting drenched during the celebration, things then spilled back out onto the field where some fans waited around for the players to come back out. Jonathon Papelbon rewarded some lucky fans as he gave out 1st, 2nd and 3rd base. I'm not sure those fans really deserved such a gift, hopefully we don't see those on ebay in the next couple hours.
The Sox still have a shot at the division however the Rays still control their destiny; at the very least the Sox will get the Wild Card and will head out west to play the Angels. The main goal is now to get everyone on the roster healthy, except maybe Lugo, and line up their pitching staff for the playoffs. JD Drew and Mike Lowell have been out with injuries and it will be important for the Sox to get these guys back in the lineup for October baseball.
One final thought; Jonathon Papelbon is not right in the head, and I like it.
ITM Notes from the game:
The Red Sox are retiring Johnny Pesky's number 6 this weekend.
Jed Lowrie continues to struggle at the plate, he was 0-4, although he did have several foul tips.
Johnny Bench took in the game tonight and Heidi Watney interviewed him...he's a very weird guy. Look for that interview on youtube.
Remy offered some dynamite analysis of the Red Sox defense in the bottom of the 7th. Ellsbury and Cora made key plays that didn't result in outs, but prevented base runners from moving up and potentially scoring later in the inning.
All furniture store commercials are just terrible, especially Bob and his 'no gimmicks' gimmick. I don't know if this is a northeast phenomenon or furniture stores across the country just make awful commercials. Perhaps some of our out of market fans can comment on this...
Congratulations to the Red Sox.