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.
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