Apparently the Rays had gotten cocky. Apparently claiming that beating the Red Sox in the regular season was not enough reason for this team to celebrate for the first time in franchise history. Well, entering the bottom of the 7th with a 7-0 lead should be enough for the Rays to officially have 'taken down' Red Sox Nation. To add insult to injury, the Rays are taking care of business on the hallowed grounds of Fen Way Park-where fans are rushing to the T Train!
The game is 99% in the books according to FanGraphs, sorry, 98% with Jed Lowrie's lead-off double. Although FanGraphs does not take into account how terrible Jason Varitek is. Not only is the measely 2% chance of victory quite uninspiring, so too is the fact that from 1977 to 2006 only 1 out of 220 home teams have come back from a 7 run deficit with a runner on second, and no outs in the bottom of the 7th.
While the Sox made a historic come back quite recently, they have simply been overmatched this series and are clearly the inferior team. In fact, Sox fans began jumping ship as early as 9:38 PM EST at Over The Monster.
In other words, this series is done, the Rays are the ALCS winners and with home field advantage, absolutely have to be the favorites entering the World Series. Apparently the Rays are better then even I had anticipated.
Update - 11:11 PM EST - 16/10/2008
Apparently someone in Boston made one of those '11:11' wishes. This certainly is a shift in the momentum, but it is still too little, too late. In fact, according to FanGraphs, the difference Sox are still only have an 8% chance at winning. Historically, the Sox are now in a much better crowd then they were without the runs. However, only 7% of teams down by 3, with 2 outs in the bottom of the 7th have come back to win the game.
Update - 11:29 PM EST
Through 2 innings of work, Jonathan Papelbon has thrown 38 pitches, while not being specifically efficient. He has, however, gotten the job done and taken care of the Rays for two innings. I would put the odds at Papelbon returning for the 9th at slim to none, and with Okajima and Delcarmen already having been used, the Sox have to take the lead entering the 9th inning.
Update - 11:33 PM EST
JD Drew just hammered a ball out of the park! We officially have a ballgame!
There are two legitimately positive outcomes of the game getting close:
- The fans who left and are unable to celebrate this possibly historic evening, and
- The fans who are going bezurk in the stands that may feel the devastating punch in the jaw of defeat when (if) the Sox lose.
Does everyone remember when Tony Kornheiser was 'forced' to apologize for his borderline racial slur on Monday Night Football? How come commentators aren't 'forced' to apologize when they make an uneducated proclamation?
Update - 11:47 PM EST
Wow...I guess it really is never over at Fenway Park.
Update - 11:54 PM EST
The long 8th inning combined with 38 pitches over 2 innings forced Terry Francona to take Papelbon out of the game in favor of rookie Justin Masterson. Bartlett took the 4th pitch he saw and hit a single. The Sox bullpen has nothing left, although every arm is presumed to be available.
If you're not watching, I imagine you aren't reading this...
Update - 12:13 AM EST - 17/10/2008
With the Rays up 7 runs entering the bottom of the 7th, I imagine the clubhouse was being covered for champagne celebrations and ALCS apparel. Are they tearing everything down now? Did they when the Sox tied it up? How devastating would it be to walk into the clubhouse with all of that in it?
Update - 12:16 AM EST
The Rays made history!
Apparently the Sox won't go down without a fight. Apparently I was wrong, the game wasn't over! Good on the Sox, way to make it a series!