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Lineups For Game 7, And a Question

The Red Sox bench Jed Lowrie tonight in favor of Alex Cora:
Coco Crisp - 8
Dustin Pedroia - 4
David Ortiz - DH
Kevin Youkilis - 5
J.D. Drew - 9
Jason Bay - 7
Mark Kotsay - 3
Jason Varitek - 2
Alex Cora - 6
(Jon Lester - 1)

The Rays bench both Cliff Floyd and Gabe Gross:
Akinori Iwamura - 4
B.J. Upton - 8
Carlos Pena - 3
Evan Longoria - 5
Carl Crawford - 7
Willy Aybar - DH
Dioner Navarro - 2
Rocco Baldelli - 9
Jason Bartlett - 6
(Matt Garza - 1)

Now, the question: Do you believe in destiny, or fate, or momentum -- or any of those intangible qualities we writers sometimes use to describe the unseen forces that sometimes seem to be in full control of baseball? l ask because sometimes there is no other way to explain what we witness in this game.

The Red Sox tonight are one win away from completing what may be the most ridiculous survival act in baseball history -- or at least since the same franchise did something equally ridiculous four years ago.

"Statheads," such as the excellent Joe Sheehan at Baseball Prospectus, like to think everything in baseball can be explained through numbers, and they sometimes make fun of those of us in the so-called mainstream media who ascribe certain other intangible attributes to players, or to situations. One of the things I love about baseball is the sheer inexplicableness (if that's a word) of it. I appreciate sabermetrics and the great thinkers who can make me see things in a different way. Unfortunately, the love is usually not reciprical.

But I was heartened the other day to read another fine Sheehan piece (registration required -- and I highly recommend it) in which he seems to surprise himself by acknowledging, for the first time, the possibility that something else is at work in this series besides numbers.

Everything about Game 7 should favor the Rays -- they're still at home, where they were practically unbeatable this season. They've got the pitcher on the mound, Matt Garza, who won Game 3 for them at Fenway Park, and, across the diamond, there is at least a kernel of doubt as to whether Jon Lester, Boston's Game 7 starter, has run out of gas at the end of a long season, given his lackluster start in Game 3.

But you and I know something else is at work here, and I can tell you from being here at the Trop that there is a very real feeling everywhere that the Red Sox are going to win this thing. It can't be explained through numbers (except perhaps the fact they are 9-1 in postseason elimination games starting with Game 4 of the 2004 ALCS).

Enjoy Game 7, folks.

By Dave Sheinin  |  October 19, 2008; 4:41 PM ET
 
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Next: Way to Go Baby Rays!

Comments

As they say in baseball, momentum lasts as long as tomorrow's starting pitcher. As a neutral observer, I'm hoping for a good game. I think the Red Sox experience in big games may be the deciding factor.

Posted by: Doctor Joe | October 19, 2008 5:57 PM | Report abuse

Dave - While Garza only gave up 1 run through 6 in a blow out, he gave up 6 hits and 3 walks. He really has not dominated the Red Sox as much as Sonnanstine has in September and October. Garza had a rough start against the White Sox in the ALDS, and he had a rough start in September in his only September start, which was at the Trop. Odds are, he due to be brilliant because I'm posting this, but I hope you talk to the Boston beat writers before the game and see if they think Garza would be tougher than Sonnanstine on the Red Sox.

Cora? Better fastball hitter against a righty than Lowrie.

Posted by: PTBNL | October 19, 2008 6:04 PM | Report abuse

inexplicability

Posted by: Anonymous | October 19, 2008 7:50 PM | Report abuse

Dr. Joe, you got your wish. What a great game! The Sawx have two outs left, and the most passionate, baseball-crazed, fatalistic fan base in MLB is looking at doom

Posted by: flynnie | October 19, 2008 11:38 PM | Report abuse

Woo hoo! Congrats to the Baby Rays. I look forward to seeing them vs. the Fillies in the WS. (Also, Destiny is on line 1 re. a golf date for Mr. Francona.)

Posted by: natsfan1a | October 19, 2008 11:44 PM | Report abuse

Howdy 1a! Was that a great game! I see it kept you up way late, as it did me. We are a NL city - we have to root or the Phillies -don't we?

Posted by: flynnie | October 19, 2008 11:46 PM | Report abuse

Hi Flynnie! Yes, I had to stay up for game 7. I know there are those who advocate rooting for one's division and one's league, but I can't bring myself to root for the Phillies. I've been rooting for the Rays to go all the way since early this year, especially after David Ortiz' early July comments on their chances of making it to the postseason. I do love an underdog story. But now I'd better turn in.

Posted by: natsfan1a | October 19, 2008 11:52 PM | Report abuse

Good night, and dreams of a great World Series greet ye when ye wake! Shiner, please do a feature on how the Post's 18 Sawx fans in the Sports Dept. are coping - start by counting Svrluga's and Chico's beers consumed right now. . (We know Barry is from Scituate, and Chico was an intern at the Globe.) Keep everyone in the car when you cross bridges. I've lived and worked amongst those people, and their hearts are the most broken of any in sports.

Posted by: flynnie | October 20, 2008 12:00 AM | Report abuse

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