Click on above images to be taken to full standings, box scores or schedule…

THE GOOD: Matt Garza. Only fitting that we start with the ALCS MVP. 7 innings, 2 hits, 1 run and 1 huge pair of cajones. And Joe Maddon had the guts to stick with Garza in the 7th inning, despite 99 pitches heading into the inning. And even more guts to stick with Garza after 2 batters reached base with only 1 out. Garza would get Mark Kotsay to fly out to right and then struck out Jason VaritekEvan Longoria. The Rays didn’t have a single base runner in the first 3 innings and it was beginning to look as if Jon Lester was back to his unbeatable ways. But with 2 outs and Carlos Pena on first, Evan Longoria stroked a double down the right field line. Pena is slow, but he was just fast enough to beat the relay throw and get the Rays on the board…The Strike ‘em out-Throw ‘em out. With 1 out in the 6th and Dustin Pedroia on first and David Ortiz at the plate, Matt Garza gets Big Papi swinging. As our house erupted in cheers, I was screaming that Pedroia was running. Dioner Navarro made an absolutely perfect throw to beat Pedroia by 5 feet…Willy Aybar. His home run was the biggest hit of the game. You could almost feel the pressure lift a little off of the players once that ball left the bat giving the Rays a 2-run lead…David Price. Only fitting that we end with King David. The favored son appeared late in the battle and slayed Goliath to lead the Rays past the Philistines Red Sox. Seriously? A guy that started the year in single-A, earns his first career save-a 4-out save-in game 7 of the ALCS against the Boston Red Sox. Think King David might see some similar situations in the World Series?

THE BAD: Getting lucky in the 4th inning. When Evan Longoria flipped the double down the right field line, it nearly bounced over the short wall in foul territory near the foul pole, hitting the wall about 6 inches from the top. If that ball goes over, Carlos Pena would have been forced to stop at third base on the ground-rule double…Getting lucky in the 8th inning. With runners on first and second and David Ortiz coming up, Joe Maddon went to JP Howell. Howell got Ortiz to ground slowly to Aki Iwamura. Rather than take the sure out at first, Aki went to second. Coco Crisp would have been safe if he slid for the bag. Instead, he chose to slide at Bartlett to break up the double-play and never touched the bag and was forced out…Joe Maddon went with Gabe Gross as a late-inning defensive replacement in right field. Gross is a good right fielder. Fernando Perez is better.

THE TELLING: When David Price came back out for the 9th inning, our first reaction was to shit our pants. But strangely, once we changed our diaper, we weren’t worried. The kid is that good…David Ortiz came to the plate with runners on base three times. He was 0-3 with 2 strike outs and a force out…Anybody from Red Sox Nation care to explain once again how winning the division didn’t mean anything? Any chance the Red Sox would have preferred to play game 7 at home?…Winning the ALCS in 5 games would have been sweet, but giving Red Sox Nation false hope and then crushing it with a 700-pound fat lady singing at the top of her lungs, made it all the more sweet…According to CoolStandings.com, the Rays now have a 100% chance of winning the ALCS. We think they are underestimating the magic of the Red Sox. The Rays have a 53.5% chance of winning the World Series which is basically the home field advantage…Look for Scott Kazmir to take the ball for game 1 on Wednesday against Cole Hammels, with James Shields coming back on normal rest for game 2 and Matt Garza in game 3.

DEVIL DOGS WEBTOPIA

  • Transcript of Joe Maddon’s post-game press conference. [MLB]
  • Transcript of Matt Garza’s post-game press conference. [MLB]
  • Don Zimmer threw out the first pitch. [Tampa Tribune]
  • Troy Percival was expected to rejoin the Rays prior to game 7, but chose to stay in California to tend to a “family matter”. [Fox Sports]
  • The thousands of you that left Game Five in Fenway early can feel justified now, since the team wasn’t up to your standards” [Epic Carnival]
  • We don’t think BJ Upton was ever really in the doghouse for more than a day or two, but after this postseason, it is safe to say Upton is definitely back in the good graces of his manager. [SI.com]
  • We will try to get to some more links this afternoon.
 
 

12 Comments

  1. Justin says:

    Prof, did you catch what Maddon said to Garza when he first went to the mound… I think it was the 7th.

    All I could read were his lips saying… “awesome”. Maybe he said you’re doing awesome. Maybe he said awesome job.

    But the look on his face, the way he said that word to Garza. It was like, everything is OK. You are doing the best that anyone could do. Hold in there.

    That was what made the night for me. Because we won with hard work and a strong sense of team.

    We could have lost the game, but we didn’t. We could have let the Sox roll us over, but we didn’t. We showed up every day, and if there was a better team out there, we would have lost to them, plain and simple. Because that is how we play the game. Smart. Patiently.

    But there wasn’t a better team this time. This time we WERE the better team. And that’s what Maddon’s poise and his words meant to me last night.

  2. Nick says:

    I’m a grad student at Florida State, and there was Rays gear as far as the eye could see this morning. What a beautiful sight!

    Go Rays!

  3. Scot says:

    So much for experience… from transcripts of interview with Maddon:

    As improbable as this whole story has been, is it almost fitting that the guy has almost no big league experience, and he’s on the mound there in the ninth inning?

    JOE MADDON: It’s about talent, too, and it’s about makeup. You’re right, absolutely minimal experience. But again, I was not hesitant.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Velociraptor Jesus is here to stay

  5. Z. Hixon says:

    wow , the game last night was incredible, and as stupid as it sounds because it is just a game, that was one of the more fun times ive ever had in my lifetime. seeing those guys win it after watching them at the trop for 11 years was just amazing, they really deserved it ( and after 11 years of season tickets i kinda felt i did too ).

    side note, i dont know if you are aware but they played “7 nation army” last night and the crowd really got into it, i loved it

  6. WiNKy Oconklin says:

    Just like/love to point out that my T-Bay brethren on the game 5 blog-a-baloo agreed that it was bat shit crazy when i mentioned starting King David for the next ALCS game. I recall Chalk even saying something to the tune of… “Is this kid serious?!”

    answer me this: which then… is bat shit crazier?

    1.starting a rookie in game 6/7

    -OR-

    2.having a rookie come in to record the last four outs of ALCS game 7 with the bases loaded against the voodoo’ing game 7 Black Magic Sox

    “There is a thin line between genius and insanity. I have erased this line.”

    — Oscar Levant/ Joe Maddon

  7. Z. Hixon says:

    it was just the crazy move we needed, oddly enough i had no problem at the time with this move, where i was i could see his stuff was electric, he looked angry and focused as hell, i barely shit my pants.

  8. steve-o1285 says:

    “According to CoolStandings.com, the Rays now have a 100% chance of winning the ALCS. We think they are underestimating the magic of the Red Sox.”

    This made me laugh…a lot.

    Awesome to see Price (and his “gangster” mid-90s fastball) thrive in the biggest of situations. It really comforts me to know that a pitcher this young can be nails with all that pressure. Fresh out of the minors and already mentally tough…gotta love it.

  9. WiNKy Oconklin says:

    was going to bring this up earlier this year, but seeing now that the rays are killing it, which equates to alot more traffic on this site.

    How about a RaysIndex-Wiki. Not necessarily a serious one… more like a good-humored satire of all things Rays, AL East Rivals, Trades, Busts, etc…

    along the line’s of Sports Argument Stadium’s wiki

    articles kind of like this…

    http://sportsargumentwiki.com/index.php?title=New_York_Yankees

    with all the rayshead minds it’d most definately turn out hilarious, plus a great way for RaysIndex newcomers to get up to speed on specifics

  10. Chris in Raleigh NC says:

    First of all, congrats to the Rays!
    Secondly, let me admit that I underestimated the character of David Price. Only saw him in a couple of games in Durham, but had no idea of just how steady and strong he could be.
    Lastly, regarding the Phillies, seems to me that the Rays match up pretty well except for two things: The Trop and Madden (OK, I’m forgiving him for game 5). That should be enough.

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