Tonight has to be the night. No doubt about it when it comes to the Indians closing out the Red Sox.
Cleveland has to do it at home. Not that they can’t do it on the road but why give Boston any reason to hope. Don’t give Red Sox and their I’m-more-annoying-than-a-close-talking-drunk-guy-trying-to-have-a-serious-conversation fans any reason to bring up 2004. This isn’t 2004.
Close it out tonight in front of 44,000 crazy fans who have been waiting for this moment since Craig Counsel scored the winning run back in 1997. Do it in front of all of them and make them happy even though it will make me a little mad that I gave up my ticket to the game.
The fans have been great. The deserve it. They are standing and cheering on every 2-strike pitch. They are waving their white towels from the first pitch to the final out. ESPN’s Bill Simmons wrote something on Monday, I think, that said one of the reasons Boston lost Game 2 was because the game was so long and so cold, the fans got tired and stop cheering and the Red Sox lost home field advantage. He went on to say the same thing would happen in the late innings of Games 4 and 5. I don’t think that will be the case. I know Game 4 ended about an hour and half earlier than Game 2 but there was no way those fans were not going to be waving those towels at every big moment no matter how late the game was played.
Do it tonight so Manny can put is full attention on next year. He’s already thinking about it so might as well make it easy on him. We don’t want to confuse him. (wait, is there ever a time he isn’t confused?)
Josh Beckett’s a big game pitcher and I wouldn’t expect anything other than another great game from him tonight. He was in the same situation in 2003 with Florida down 3-1 to the Cubs. He pitched a two-hitter, struckout 11 and the Marlins went on to win the series and the World Series. C.C. Sabathia needs to match him pitch-for-pitch. He hasn’t be regular season C.C. He’s due. Just keep your team in it until they can attack Beckett when his pitch count is high or the bullpen. That will be the difference. I think both Beckett and C.C. will throw gems. But C.C. can pitch stronger, longer. If the Indians can make Beckett throw a lot of pitchers early, you can beat him in the late innings. Boston’s bullpen has been shaky to horrible so make them come in and the AL goes to Cleveland.
Win tonight because, remember how great it was to celebrate the AL Central Division Title at home with the fans. Do it again tonight.
Cleveland wins 3-2! Go Tribe!