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Red Sux, Part IIIóCANCELED!
2008-10-16 22:08
by Mike Carminati

After almost a three-game hiatus, almost their entire stay in Fenway for this ALCS, the Red Sox offense returned and with a vengeance, pillaging the previously sparkling Rays bullpen for eight runs in three innings (actually 2-2/3 since they never did get that final out) as the Sox overcame a seven-run deficit to win, 8-7, tonight. The series now returns to St. Pete with the suddenly momentum-challenged Rays leading three games to two.

Joe Maddon will be questioned for his staff maneuvers. First, he pulled Scott Kazmir, who had thrown 111 pitches, to start the seventh, but Kazmir had just completed a 1-2-3 inning with two strikeouts.

Then his bullpen moves were utterly puzzling. He had nine outs to get and, one would assume, the entire staff (besides game 3 starter James Shields) available. Maddon kept right-hander Grant Balfour to groove a pitch to lefty David Ortiz, that scored three of the four runs he allowed.

Next, Maddon turned to Dan Wheeler, who still seemed tired from pitching 3-1/3 in the 9-8 game two win. After Wheeler ended the inning 7 rally, he walked Jason Bay on four pitches to lead off the 8th. Then, again, Maddon left his righty in to face a lefty, and J.D. homered to cut the lead to one. Even though Wheeler looked like he was pitching BP, Maddon left him in to soak up the final, tying run. Also, to set up the tying run, Mark Kotsay hit a double over B.J. Upton's head even though Maddon should have had his outfielders playing back to prevent exactly that.

The Rays look like they were in disarray from Ortiz's home run on. And when Papelbon pumped his fist upon completing a 1-2-3 inning in the top of the eighth, you would have thought the were ahead by three runs instead of trailing by three.

So the Red Sox and Rays start up again Saturday in that baseball purgatory, Tropicana Field, and as a Phils fan, I revel in these two teams bludgeoning each other. If the Rays fold, I would welcome them into the fold of teams whose tradition is to torture their fan base.

However, I have to point out that if the Red Sox had lost, it would not have been their worst three-game stretch (as far as run differential) in the playoffs. They were beaten by the Indians in last year's ALCS by 25 total runs in games 3-5 of a series, you might recall, the Red Sox won. It would have ranked as the third worst three-game stretch in playoff history, however:

YrRoundSeries WinnerWSeries LoserLDateG1WinnerRLoserRHomeTeamDateG2WinnerRLoserRHomeTeamDateG2WinnerRLoserRHomeTeamDiff
1996NLCSATL4SLN3199610145ATL14SLN0SLN199610166ATL3SLN1ATL199610177ATL15SLN0ATL31
1999ALDS1BOS3CLE2199910093BOS9CLE3BOS199910104BOS23CLE7BOS199910115BOS12CLE8CLE26
2007ALCSBOS4CLE3200710185BOS7CLE1CLE200710206BOS12CLE2BOS200710217BOS11CLE2BOS25
2008ALCS??200810133TBA9BOS1BOS200810144TBA13BOS4BOS200810165TBA7BOS0BOS24
1936WSNYA4NY12193610022NYA18NY14NY1193610033NYA2NY11NYA193610044NYA5NY12NYA18
1937WSNYA4NY11193710061NYA8NY11NYA193710072NYA8NY11NYA193710083NYA5NY11NY118
2007WSBOS4COL0200710241BOS13COL1BOS200710252BOS2COL1BOS200710273BOS10COL5COL18
1951WSNYA4NY12195110084NYA6NY12NY1195110095NYA13NY11NY1195110106NYA4NY13NYA17
1968WSDET4SLN3196810075DET5SLN3DET196810096DET13SLN1SLN196810107DET4SLN1SLN17
1970ALCSBAL3MIN0197010031BAL10MIN6MIN197010042BAL11MIN3MIN197010053BAL6MIN1BAL17
1983ALCSBAL3CHA1198310062BAL4CHA0BAL198310073BAL11CHA1CHA198310084BAL3CHA0CHA17
1985WSKCA4SLN3198510245KCA6SLN1SLN198510266KCA2SLN1KCA198510277KCA11SLN0KCA17
2000ALCSNYA4SEA2200010112NYA7SEA1NYA200010133NYA8SEA2SEA200010144NYA5SEA0SEA17

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