I’m learning something about myself by writing this blog. I’m an wishful optimist by nature, sometimes too much. It’s difficult for me to predict a Red Sox loss when I feel like cheering on my team is important to helping them actually win. Predicting a loss almost feels disloyal.
What I’ve realized is that when I get a bad feeling about making a prediction, or I just feel that I can’t figure out what’s going to happen, more often than not, that’s a sign that the Red Sox are likely to lose.
That happened to me Wednesday. I never made a prediction because I just couldn’t get a feel for what was likely to happen. Logically, having Beckett pitch at home with the offense clicking would give the Sox an advantage, but somehow, I felt like after clinching a playoff spot in Tampa Bay, then having 2 rousing wins to put give themselves breathing room in the division race, they would have a sort of a letdown. Things had just gone too well, and too much pressure had been removed too quickly. It’s like when a pitcher has bases loaded, nobody out, and gets a popup and a strikeout to take away the pressure of a potential run-scoring out. Suddenly, with less pressure, the pitcher’s focus goes away, and a 3-run double results.
That, to me, is why Beckett wasn’t in top form, giving up a single run in 5 out of 6 innings he pitched, and why the Sox offense withered, with the exception of Big Papi.
Thank goodness for Big Papi! Thanks to him, the Sox were within a base hit of winning the game in the 9th. Joe Nathan was just to good, though. At least the Red Sox got him to face 7 batters, and throw a lot of pitches.
After working hard in the late innings to try to come back in that one, and coming up just short, and having had to play the end of the game in the rain, and having the Yankees win to close the gap to 2 and put the pressure back on, the Red Sox should be more focussed tonight. The weather is better, and the offense still has enough good signs (Varitek homered the other way, hitting left-handed; Papi was awesome; other players are hot) that they’ll find ways to score runs tonight.
I also feel that Matsusaka has shown a lot of positive signs, and with all the extra rest he’s had recently (3 extra days rest before his last start, and 1 extra day before this start) he should feel both rested and sharp for tonight. With it being his last start of the regular season, he’ll probably have extra focus on performing well.
Minnesota will battle, and they have better players than their record indicates. However, tonight the Red Sox will have the mental edge instead of the Twins.
It should be a good, close game with an average score, something like 6-4 Red Sox.
The Yankees will also win. The Red Sox won’t clinch the division until Saturday.
When they win the division, that’s when the real partying will start!