None of that 100 win in the AL West junk anymore. The heavyweights of the AL East are going to slug it out to go to the Series. And the best rivalry of 2008 is back, so let the smack-talk begin. Jed Lowrie for Rookie of the Year. Longoria Who? Ozzie Guillen would say F**k the Rays, but then again, Ozzie's going home for the winter.
The Sox punched their ticket in style---a walk off, with Lowrie squeaking a grounder through the right side to score Jason Bay. Bay was on after after his pop fly sliced just out of the reach of Reggie Willits and went into the stands. With one out and Bay on, Mark Kotsay (looking more and more like Jesus, no?) hit a rocket down the first base line, but Mark Teixiera made another diving play to his left to keep the Angels in the game. Then up came the Rookie, and in came Jason Bay. Bay, the Ragin' Canadgin' started his slide about ten yards out and seemed to have an invisible curler sweeping his path. He got a nasty spike to the hand, but when he came up he wasn't feeling anything but postseason glory.
John Lester was the ace again, throwing seven scoreless innings before handing it over to Okie, who got two outs before walking Teixeira. Masterson came in, and a walk, a wild pitch, and a Torii (are you chanting my name? you don't know me, fools) Hunter single tied up the game. In the 9th, disaster loomed when Kendri Morales led off with a pinch-hit double. This was when the ill-fated Willits came in, and when he reached 3rd with one out, the Angels went for the ultimate gutsy play. They went for the squeeze, with the ALDS on the line. Mike Scioscia has big iron balls. But Delcarmen cut one hard past a baffled Aybar, and Varitek came out like a bat out of hell. Seriously, the man was possessed. Gear clanking, knees creaking, Tek ran Willits down and squeezed it long enough for the umps.
That was all the momentum the Sox needed. The new blood took care of the rest.
With any luck, the Sox'll take that magic right down to Florida. And with a little more luck, we'll get to enjoy another round of October baseball like the one we just had. Full of heroes, nerves, latenights, Lester and lots of Papelbon-sprayed champagne.
Bring it on Rays. Let's show the NL what October passion looks like. If you show up to the ballpark, that is. I expect this ALCS to be a blast. Go Sox.