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10/19/2007 12:52:00 PM

ALDS: A Night That Saw Everything

By Joe Lemire

Here's all you need to know about last night's game: In the eighth inning Fox showed one of its "Right Now" graphics with J.D. Drew on third base, Coco Crisp on second and Julio Lugo on first.

The offensively-anemic trio has a collective postseason average of .209 and an on-base percentage of .256, yet somehow all three reached base in the same inning and all three scored in that inning.

Yep, it was that kind of night for the Sox.

Save for the home run that Manny Ramirez had taken from him in the third inning -– and Fox persisted in pointing out that he didn't run hard out of the box, later displaying a summary box mentioning Ramirez's 390-foot RBI single -– Boston had a banner night in Cleveland.

Josh Beckett brought a swagger that the Sox needed, and the offense started to come alive. While the top of Boston's lineup produced last night -– the top four went 7-for-14 with four runs, six RBIs, four extra-base hits -– Lugo and Crisp haven't hit worth a lick. Crisp couldn't even get down a sacrifice bunt in a key spot. It's time for Jacoby Ellsbury to get a crack in the lineup. He can't do any worse than Crisp and, with his speed, may provide a spark at the bottom of the lineup because, as it is now, there are several automatic outs in that order.

Lugo finally contributed in a meaningful way last night -– when he helped interview Manny, who has suddenly become a media darling.

Who better to rally Red Sox Nation than Rally Karaoke Guy? Kevin Millar –- who, mind you, is an active member of an AL East rival -– appeared on Fox's pregame show, urging Sox fans to "Cowboy Up" and reminding them that they faced worse odds in 2004.

While the Angels had the Rally Monkey in 2002, the Sox had Rally Karaoke Guy, a hilarious video of a teenage Millar dancing -– badly -– to Bruce Springsteen's Born in the U.S.A.

Clearly Millar loves Boston and wishes he never had to leave. I suspect that, whenever he retires, he'll have signed a contract within the hour to be a NESN studio analyst.

  • Terry Pluto says Fausto Carmona needs to get ahead in the count in Game 6.

  • The Indians asked country singer Danielle Peck –- a girl Beckett used to date -– to sing God Bless America. Beckett's postgame comments are priceless. (Note: The video does contain adult language.)

  • Jackie MacMullan of the Globe writes that Beckett's playoff reputation continues to grow. She also writes that the Sox need to keep free-agent-to-be Mike Lowell.

  • Beckett is the pitching version of Mr. October and should be available to relieve if the ALCS goes to a seventh game.

  • Indians fans didn't have much to cheer last night and worry about the series returning to Boston.

  • A member of the Indians addressed the team's approach to pitching the Sox.

    Cleveland GM Mark Shapiro admits he's nervous about the series.

  • Kenny Lofton and Beckett exchanged angry words last night.

  • Gabe Kapler continues to offer his thoughts on the ALCS in his boston.com blog.

  • Untouchable Indians setup man Rafael Betancourt began his pro baseball career as a shortstop.

  • There's plenty of respect for departing Yankees manager Joe Torre, even in Boston.


    posted by SI.com | View comments |  
  • Comments:

    Including a time machine, apparently, since this is the Championship Series, not the Division Series.
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