So...right. I guess Manny said something? Or whatever?
I missed it. What'd he say?
I'm sorry. Come again?
I beg your pardon. I couldn't hear you over those stats.
Meanwhile, let's talk a little Joshie, shall we?
Last night he had not only electric stuff, but was filled with enough piss and vinegar to jump-start the whole team. Something in the way he squared his shoulders suggested even more loudly than usual that if the Indians meant to call it a series, they would be fucking with him. And that fucking with him would not be a good decision.
Still, it appears some did. Or, the way Beckett was behaving, they looked at him funny. Either way, this was Vintage Joshie last night. He had quite a bit to say to Franklin Gutierrez after walking him in the second, but whatever it was was apparently none of our business since Josh put his glove over his mouth before addressing Gutierrez, who was coming off first base after Casey Blake stranded him.
And then it was Kenny Lofton's turn to feel the wrath, after he dropped his bat for ball four on what turned out to be strike two. Now God knows, Joshie hates a confident hitter. He's been known to have a few words for those who assume too much. Lofton was no exception--I personally thought it looked like Lofton dropped the bat mostly by accident. He tossed it a little at first, but then immediately was trying to gather it back into his hands again and couldn't.
But no matter. Beckett was already seeing red, and turned back to walk up the mound again with an expression that said, "well, you've left me with no choice." I fully expected a beaning with the bases empty, even with nobody out, but instead Josh got Lofton to fly out on the next pitch. Before the ball had even fully left Lofton's bat, Josh was jawing at him. Running out the fly ball to first base, Lofton let loose with a long string of what I'm sure was colorful speech all the way down the line. Then he turned and had to pass Beckett again to head back to his dugout.
Like Beckett's going to just let him walk by.
It looked like Josh was just yelling "Hey!" at him as Lofton approached, but his posture and aggressive steps toward Lofton, as Lofton thrust out his chin at Beckett and chirped back, was enough to clear both benches and bullpens. After that it was pretty much the lamest bench-clearing incident ever, with Beckett insisting to Francona he was the wronged party back over by the mound while Indians teammates corralled Lofton to the dugout.
I'm not saying Josh was in the right. But I'm also not going to say I didn't love to see his fire. It's like Josh was the only member of the team when the game started saying, "No, fuck this, we are GOING back to Fenway." Eventually his teammates got on board with him, but he was the catalyst.
Apparently the Eck called Beckett "Pedro-esque" and while I'm loath to bring out that already-worn comparison (seems like everybody gets compared to Pedro when they do well, like Daisuke, and really, it's a little bit insulting to Pedro, who was the best pitcher ever to don a Sox uniform and, during his reign, the best pitcher on the planet), I have to say that in attitude they share many qualities. This is especially true of the sense of barely-controlled fury and "Don't you know I'm loco?" antics that can sometimes set the other team back on their heels a bit.
Speaking of ferocity, Pedroia finally got his bat on the ball, going 2-4 with a single and a lovely little scampering double in the top of the 7th. He also made a gorgeous diving stop at second in the early innings. I think the postseason has affected Dustin a little more than I expected, but last night he finally seemed to be working his way out of the deer-in-the-headlights phase.
As Papi put it after the game, "we got some production from the little guys" this time.
Truth be told, though, I'm not terribly surprised. Just having Beckett on the mound has to give the Sox a shot of confidence. And unless he truly was badly hurt (like Curt-Schilling-bloody-sock hurt), I would have been very surprised to see the Sox drop the series on Beckett's watch.
But it's like Kristen was saying way back in September, we're going to have to win more than just Josh Beckett's starts. I'm also hearing some things about Josh not coming back for a Game 7 if there is one? Are you effing serious? You're going to start Daisuke in a clinching game when Josh could go on short rest? I really don't get it. Seriously. I just don't get it. And where's Ellsbury already?
By now it's clear that one victory behind Beckett is no reason for cockiness. In fact, if I may be so bold, I would suggest that the Sox pulling out just one win in Game 5 behind our ace is pretty much the bare minimum we could have expected and a victory for Cleveland.
But, still. It was the best case scenario at 8 pm last night, and it's hard to argue with a chance to come back home to Fenway for the Sox. At least they can't have asked for better circumstances, even though the proof will still be between the lines.
That said, I don't care what Manny did or said this week. If Fenway even so much as seems like it's thinking about dissing him, I, for one, am going to be livid. Just shut up and let the man carry the team.
Also, during his postgame interview while reclining on a clubhouse couch, Manny was interrupted by Papi, who commented on his bright purple tie. I can't make out what Papi said, but it made everyone--Manny, and the cluster of reporters gathered around him with microphones held out--bust up laughing. I realized that while I've seen Manny laugh many times, it's been rare for me to hear it. And it is a magical sound, instantly infectious, bubbling out of him mid-word as Papi broke in to the huddle. The kind of sound that makes it difficult, indeed, to feel sour about much of anything.
P.S. Someone please, please put us and Tim McCarver out of our mutual misery by getting that blathering idiot OFF the air already. Even when he's kissing the ass of my team's starting pitcher, I think he's a moron. Seriously, give me one good reason he is still employed. Just one. I'm starting to think that if it exists, it has more to do with blackmail photos of Rupert Murdoch than any real merit.
P.P.S. This just in: