Editor’s Note: Here’s another guest post from our Phillies lead writer, Justin Klugh.
When you were growing up, did you ever have that friend whose dad was cool with everything? No matter how loud things got, or how late you came back, or how much you reeked like weed and llama piss, he never once raised an eye brow. He was probably in flip-flops, even in the middle of January, watching the game, but perfectly willing to give up the living room so you guys could play Mario Kart instead of going out and getting girlfriends. He had a good marriage, and a solid family, and in all likelihood, now, he’s probably retired on a tropical island, watching a shirtless dude eat a flaming sword during happy hour. [...]
But then, there was one day… that one, infamous day… that’s forever scarred onto the interior of your cerebral cavity. Somebody stepped on one of his model trains and he went on a five hour shit fit, screaming until his teeth exploded, ending the horrific scenario by putting a shotgun in his mouth.
Anybody see Joe Maddon tonight?
Red Sox 2, Rays 0
Maybe it’s the glasses, but I’ve always seen him as a calm, cool, and collected manager, slowly solving Rubik’s cubes in between calculating his next moves. And tonight, when Lester—I was going to “painted the corner” but it really wasn’t even close—threw that pitch two feet outside the strike zone, it was the Red Sox stepping on his model train.
But don’t let that several gallon saliva exchange take away from the majesty that was Lester’s evening. The dude goes six innings, strikes out nine, and only lets one of the Rays touch third base. Watch closely, people. Because I can’t tell if this is the Rays’ disaster or the Sox’ hot streak. Probably both.
And the great thing about pitching like that is that you don’t really need a ton of offense. Thankfully, David Ortiz stepped in and shocked a double off James Shields to knock in the only pair of runs the game saw. Like I was blithering on yesterday, Papi’s resurgence is a big part of the Sox return to possible contention, and it’s got to bring a twinkle to your eye when he’s not only abusing the baseball, but in tonight’s game, he was really the only one who had to.
As masterful a symphony as Lester put together tonight—did I mention he only allowed one hit?—he did leave plenty of time for the bullpen. But why worry? Apparently the Red Sox bullpen is comprised solely of baseball-oriented cyborgs as Manny Delcarmen, Daniel Bard, and the brooding gaze of Jonathan Papelbon put together a collective line of 3 IP, 3 K, and 0 Everything Else. I mean, what the shit? That’s a nightmarish collection of hurling against a lineup who until recently was still eating AL East teams for breakfast, barfing them up at lunch, and feeding them to the dog at dinner.
And so, as no one saw coming but plenty are celebrating, the Sox go for the sweep tomorrow, sending John Lackey—who would have thought he would be the staff underperformer—against Matt Garza, a guy whose ESPN profile picture looks like he’s trying to pick you up at a bar where Ricky Martin plays in the background on a continuous loop.