ALCS Game 3: Total domination in Fenway!

October 14, 2008 at 1:47 am | Posted in Baseball, Rays | 9 Comments

Game 3 of the ALCS was an afternoon game today.  That’s great for kids, but bad for adults.  I had to do the “work from home” thing so that I could watch the game.  It turned out to be well worth it as the Rays dominated the Red Sox in a 9-1 victory!

This was the game that all of the critics and nay-sayers said the Rays couldn’t win.  We were told that they’d wilt under the pressure of playing at Fenway Park (as if they’d suddenly forget what it was like after playing 9 games there during the season), that all of Boston’s playoff “experience” would be too much for the Rays to overcome, and that Jon Lester was simply unbeatable.  That last point was hard to argue with.  Lester did dominate the Rays every time he pitched against them this year and he hadn’t lost a game at Fenway Park since April.  There was so much hype for Jon Lester that in the first inning, Buck Martinez was proclaiming that he was the best pitcher in all of baseball!  I have a lot of respect for Buck Martinez, but seriously?  Lester had been hot, but better than C.C. Sabathia?  Johan Santana?  Jake Peavy?  Roy Halladay?  Tim Lincecum?  I think not…

We learned today that Jon Lester is not better than Matt Garza.  Garza had been great for the Rays all season, and today he proved that he is a Big Game Pitcher.  After listening to the media lavish praise upon Lester while it totally overlooked Garza, he was outstanding today.  He effectively mixed his 95 MPH fastball with his devastating curve ball for 6 shutout innings.  When Joe Maddon left him in the game longer than he should have, he walked the first batter in the 7th inning, who eventually scored after Garza was taken out.  After his performance today, I have all the confidence in the world that if the series goes to seven games, Matt Garza can win Game 7 for the Rays.

While Garza shut down Boston’s offense, Tampa Bay’s hitters had no problem scoring runs against Jon Lester.  The game was pretty much over after the 3rd inning when the two biggest heroes of the Rays postseason so far, B.J. Upton and Evan Longoria, hit home runs to give their team a 5-0 lead.  Rocco Baldelli and Carlos Pena added home runs in the 8th and 9th innings to bring the turn the game into a 9-1 rout.

This was the second straight game in which the Rays scored 9 runs.  It’s the first time that the Red Sox have ever given up 9 runs in consecutive postseason games.  That’s kind of amazing considering all of the postseason games that they’ve lost in their history!

I am extremely optimistic about the Rays chances to win the series.  In Game 4 tomorrow, it’ll be Andy Sonnanstine against Tim Wakefield.  Sonnanstine is always either excellent or average, but he never has a horrible start.  Wakefield, on the other hand, has been remarkably bad against the Rays this year.  I was surprised to hear that Terry Francona decided to give him a start in this series.  After that, the Rays get another crack at Dice-K in Game 5, and there’s no way that he’ll be as good as he was in Game 1.  And after that, it’ll be back to Tampa Bay “if necessary” and two games against Josh Beckett and Jon Lester, who the Rays have already knocked around.

Yeah, I know, the series is far from over, and the momentum can change at any minute, but things are looking very, very good right now!

To celebrate the win, here are some selected autographed cards of today’s heroes from my collection:

2008 Upper Deck Ballpark Collection

2008 Upper Deck Ballpark Collection

2007 Bowman's Best

2007 Bowman's Best

2004 SPx #/999

2004 SPx #396/999

2002 Bowman Authentic Futures Game Game-Worn Jersey

2002 Bowman Authentic Futures Game Game-Worn Jersey

2008 Topps Triple Threads #72/99

2008 Topps Triple Threads #72/99

The “Rising Stars” designation on Garza’s card has never looked more appropriate!

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9 Comments »

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  1. Better than Timmy? I think NOT indeed! This has turned out to be a great series. Did you get that B.J. Upton from your box break or you bought it as a single? It’s probably the best looking of the bunch.

  2. I bought it as a single on eBay for only $9.38 + $2.50 shipping last week. I agree with you – the Ballpark autographed memorabilia cards are some of the nicest hits of the year!

  3. That Baldelli card looks sweet. I must say that since I read your blog about him I’ve become a bit of a fan. You don’t get that many big time Italians in this game anymore. And those ballpark autos are nice, I tried to get a Xavier Nady one off eBay but got outbid $1.75 + 3.50 shipping. I still haven’t seen the Jeter/Mattingly auto, though.

  4. OUCH! That game hurt me emotionally and physically. Then I turn to the interent for some solice and I gotta read a message you left me pointing out how wrong I was about the Ray’s Hershey Squirts, further sticking the dagger deeper. Hold on a second……..That’s better I just swallowed a bottle of Prozac. I do have issue with the fact that you think Garza is as good a pitcher as Lester. Yes, he beat him game 3, but Lester had 5 more wins, more K’s, and a better era, if you compare regular season numbers, as you always like to do. I still stand by my prediction of Sox in 7. Tim Wakefield will stop the bleeding tonight. Get my Sox cards ready Dave!

  5. Well, technically I said “Jon Lester is not better than Matt Garza”. It was really in response to Lester’s ridiculous hype. They’re comparable, but if I was starting a team and could choose to have either Lester or Garza, I would choose Lester. So you win that one 🙂

  6. Dave, Call off the dogs!!!!!!!! I can’t take any more!!!!!! How many runs is enough? Stop the fight. UNCLE, UNCLE. I’M TAPPING OUT!

  7. I love watching the Sox suffer…. 13 runs and still counting. 😀

  8. I love rooting for my second favorite team “Whoever is playing the Red Sox”

    Evan and BJ are looking very comfortable in October.

  9. WOW – I absolutely loved that game! I’ll have a full post on it tomorrow … too tired tonight.


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