It was a must win game for the Red Sox on Tuesday night and they were ablel to pull it off and keep their postseason hopes alive. Thanks to a dramatic 8-7 victory over the stubborn Baltimore Orioles, the Red Sox kept pace with the surging Tampa Bay Rays for the AL Wild Card.
As the game entered the eighth inning, the out-of-town scoreboard showed that the Yankees had once again lost to the Rays down in Florida, so for a brief moment, the Red Sox were trailing in the Wild Card.
But there was no reason to panic. The Sox were leading 8-4 and were six outs away from victory. Cue the drama!
Daniel Bard enters the game and he suddenly reverted to his lackluster ways, surrendering two runs narrowing the gap to an 8-6 lead. Suddenly a comfortable lead has now shrunk and Jonathan Papelbon is warming in the pen. This wasn’t supposed to happen. It was supposed to be an easy victory, cruise to the win.
Ninth inning, Papelbon in the game. He had pitched 2.1 innings on Sunday night and threw a season high 29 pitches. He has to be tired although you’d never get that out of him. A lead-off single to J.J. Hardy and now the nerves are going. One on and no out. Remember Tampa has already won their game, so the Sox season is in the balance.
Papelbon would get Nick Markakis to ground out to Adrian Gonzalez for the first out, but Hardy would advance to second. To make matters worse, Papelbon’s pitch count is suddenly climbing after just two batters.
In steps the ageless Vladimir Guererro and despite not having good numbers against Papelbon, he managed a single into left leaving runners on the corners, one out and the winning run at the plate. Now the heartrate is accelerated and it’s time to pace in front of the t.v.
Matt Wieters grounds out softly just in front of the plate and the kid catcher, Ryan Lavarnway makes a great play to get the Wieters at first. Hardy would score easily and now it’s two out, tying run on second.
Adam Jones steps to the plate and he stands between any postseason hopes for the Red Sox or whether or not they’ll complete one of the biggest collapses in MLB history.
With the crowd on their feet, Red Sox Nation holding their breath and a Papelbon pitch count approaching 30, Jones grounds to Jed Lowrie who delivers a strike to first. Ball game over, Red Sox win and they’re still alive. Phewwwww. Talk about a heartstopper of a game.
But Sox fans don’t have much time to catch their breath. Less than 24 hours later, they’ll play game 162 with the same amount of pressure and the same amount of panic. You know the Yankees will roll over in Tampa, so essentially, it’s another win or go home type game for Boston.
Jon Lester gets the start tonight and despite a rough couple outings in September and pitching on three days rest, the season is in his hands. How about this finish. It all comes down to the final regular season day and if they win, they’ll most likely head to Tampa Bay for a one game showdown with the Rays.
Buckle up, it’s going to be a dramatic and nerveracking night.
Topics: Adrian Gonzalez, AL East, AL Wild Card, Baltimore Orioles, Bobby Jenks, Boston Red Sox, Carl Crawford, Clay Buchholz, Cleveland Indians, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Daniel Bard, David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia, Fenway Park, Free Agents, Hideki Okajima, Injuries, J.D. Drew, Jacoby Ellsbury, Jason Varitek, Jed Lowrie, John Lackey, Jonathan Papelbon, Josh Beckett, Kevin Youkilis, Marco Scutaro, Mike Lowell, MLB, New York Yankees, Tampa Bay Rays, Terry Francona, Texas Rangers, Theo Epstein, Tim Wakefield, Toronto Blue Jays