The Rays had to wait a few extra games to close out the series and celebrate, but they pulled it off tonight with a 3-1 victory. I'll keep this post short since we all watched the game. It was a well played and well coached close game. The way it should be. Both starters found their groves and settled in, but Matt Garza proved to have the better stuff in the end. It was a game that had me on the edge of my seat and screaming at the TV multiple times (then again, I do that during spring training scrimmages against Northeastern). For the Red Sox, the game was all but lost in the 8th inning when JD Drew struck out on a check swing with the bases loaded...the Trop erupted, and my stomach dropped. Given the situation, JD was the guy we all wanted at the plate, but Boston's inability to swing the bat well with runners in scoring position finally caught up with them tonight.
Maybe it was because it was game 7, but at no other point in the playoffs have I thought about Mike Lowell more. Missing his bat in the lineup really hurt this team, as well as Kotsay played, having Lowell's name on the lineup card could have given the Sox the offensive depth to pull this thing off, but it simply wasn't meant to be.
The Red Sox made a valiant effort in this series, pushed the Rays to a 7th game, but in the end, couldn't find that timely hit to complete the comeback. Boston deserves their credit, they didn't lay down and showed a lot of heart by pushing the series to an exciting end. When the game was just beginning, TBS was showing the Red Sox defense...I looked it over and thought to myself, "how are we still playing right now?" Turns out that feeling made sense in the end.
I have no ill will towards the Rays players (although the fans and their cowbells is an entirely different story). They earned their trip to the world series. They have proved everyone wrong all year and tonight passed the biggest test yet, beating the defending champs and moving on to the biggest show in the sport. I think they are a great team with amazing balance and an insanely high ceiling. As mad as MLB and the networks are about having a Rays/Phillies series, I'll be watching, and hoping the Rays take it home.
Lastly, ITM will simply not go into hibernation now that the Red Sox season is over. We'll be looking at trade possibilities, ways to improve, player contract options and negotiations over the offseason. Be sure to check in regularly for updates.