Monday, October 15, 2007

ALCS Game 3: Boston 2, Cleveland 4

The Jake looking absolutely gorgeous as the twilight pregame festivities concludeFollowing two games that seemed like they were being played in The Twilight Zone, Game 3 of the ALCS felt much more like business-as-usual for the Cleveland Indians. Playing before a raucous home town crowd in the friendly expanse of Jacobs' Field for the first time in nearly a week and a half, it was now the Tribe's turn to play series bully, with the Boston Red Sox suddenly becoming the team with starting rotation issues for a change.

K-Love takes his curtain call.We also finally got some semblance of an October pitcher's duel, as Game 3 was far centered on defensive plays than offensive output. Even with their $100 million man Daisuke Matsuzaka on the mound, Boston had their hands full with base runners throughout Game 3 as the pesky Tribe kept landing on base via. walks or singles. There was also one particularly memorable moment in the bottom of the second inning as Matsuzaka gave up the first Kenny Lofton home run since the 40-year old veteran returned to the Indians organization at the end of July, and that first-pitch two-run shot energized the Jacobs' Field crowd so much that the fleet-footed right fielder took a curtain call just afterwards.

Westbrook wants YOU to get a little crazy as the ALCS winds on.Matsuzaka's counterpart, sinkerballer Jake Westbrook had it a lot easier overall as he cruised through six innings of scoreless ball with only a no-outs-and-bases-loaded scare in the second inning (and an 0-3 count against Manny Ramirez in the sixth) providing any real drama for the Cleveland defense. Westbrook's shutout bid finally ended in the seventh inning when Westbrook yielded the game's only Boston score when catcher Jason Varitek golfed a two-run homer over the center field wall.

Raffy Betancourt. Full extension.A dominant (and lengthy) performance from the starting rotation was exactly what Cleveland needed following the 13+ ERA combined performance of the staff's aces in Games 1 and 2, and a new found confidence by Tribe fans in the pitching staff was further rewarded by the additional spotless work put in by Jensen Lewis and Rafael Betancourt (who once again pitched directly into the maw of the scariest part of the Red Sox lineup and walked away this time with a perfect inning to show for it), not to mention a 1-2-3 ninth from Joe Borowski. A two run lead may not have felt like an awful lot for jumpy fans ever worrying over the explosive power of the Boston offense ... but on this night at least, it was more than enough.

Grady takes off on a hit.

No comments: