Saturday, October 19, 2019

"Don't let us win one."

The cry of the Red Sox' chief "idiot" from 2004, Kevin Millar, which still sends a frisson of fear down my spine.

He said it while warming up before Game 4 of the Series That Will Live In Infamy, the 2004 ALCS, and at the time it seemed like just so much more insufferable Red Sox bravado.

Boston, after all, had just suffered a horrendous, 19-8 loss in a monsoon at Fenway, to go down 3-0 in games, a hole no baseball team had ever climbed out of before.  They looked to be out of pitchers, dispirited, dead.  A major housecleaning was certainly about to come, in the front office and on the field, and surely goodness and mercy would follow us all the days of our lives, and we would live in the House That Ruth Built forever.

Well, it didn't work out that way, and I won't raise the hackles on the back of your neck by recalling anymore of it.

Suffice it to say that the lesson here is you don't let teams hang around.

Give them a day, and a win, and all those hangdog memories of a miserable loss begin to fade away.

I'm fully aware that, in baseball, momentum is the next day's pitcher.  Tonight is "a bullpen game," idiotically enough, and Houston has the better bullpen, despite all the nonsense the Gammonites spew.  And after that, should they somehow win, all our boys have to do is defeat the best pitcher in baseball at the moment.


If you were a Houston fan—heaven forbid—wouldn't last night have freaked you out a little?

Wouldn't you have sat back, a sack full of pork rinds on one side, the cup full of Colt .45 you've been forcing yourself to drink just for the playoffs on the other, and prepared yourself for an enjoyable evening of watching your boys beat the Yankees on their home field and silence the Great House?

Wouldn't you have been surreptitiously running your eyes over possible pitching match-ups with Washington, even as you loudly told your friends, 'Hey, it ain't over yet, anything can happen!'

Uh-huh.  And then that top of the first inning, with Sancho reverting to his old ways trying to track down balls, a gift run for Verlander.  Surely the Astros were on their way.  You stopped sipping the Colt .45, thinking of that bottle of champagne you'd stored away in the fridge...

And then—Hicks' ball bangs off the foul pole (Shouldn't a shot like that count for an extra run?  And shouldn't it be "the fair pole," as Warner Wolf would remind us?).

Only two guys have hit 3-run homers off Verlander all year, and they both go long on him in the first inning, The General and Hicks.

And that's it!  No more scoring the whole game, while you have to watch those terrible animals in the Stadium screech and preen and yell juvenile insults at your fine young ballplayers.

Sure, you think it's still in the bag.  Sure, you're telling yourself that there's no way they're taking two in Houston.

But a bullpen game.  Anything can happen.

And then there's Cole, who beat your New York Yankees even when he was far from his best, on a cold, miserable night at Yankee Stadium.  Cole, who's won, what now?  18 straight games?  Second best winning streak in all of major-league history?

Huh.  That's impressive.  But, you know, isn't it time for a glitch?  Isn't that what happens with the finest of streaks?  Something goes just a little bit wrong.  An error, a freak hit.  A ball hitting the fair pole...

I'm not saying we're going to win.  If you put a gun to my head and said 'Bet your life savings on who will win this ALCS,' I would put it all on the Houston Astronauts.

But still.

"Don't let us win one..."


13bit said...

Are you saying that MOMENTUM = HAPP?

ranger_lp said...

Starting lineup just posted. Chad Green will be the opener...

No Stanton, EE instead.

ranger_lp said...

Just dawned on me a math equation..

CC + DD + EE = FF

Ken of Brooklyn said...

In a sense, all the pressure is on Houston NOT to lose, everyone, especially US, expects them to win,,,,,,,,,,,

Anonymous said...





Ken of Brooklyn said...

Right On!!!!!!!!> ALL CAPS

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