Close Encounters of the Red Sox Kind

October 25, 2007 at 6:45 pm Leave a comment

On Thursday, the Boston Red Sox delivered a convincing 13-1 victory over the Colorado Rockies in Game One of the World Series. Dustin Pedroia, playing in his inaugural season with the Sox, was the first Boston batter of the game and established the tone with a home run. Boston settled matters by adding seven runs in the fifth inning.

What may determine this Series, though, is whether the Sox can perform as proficiently in close games. They should recall the example of the 1996 Atlanta Braves. Atlanta rallied to capture the National League Championship Series after trailing three games to one, and then won Game One of the World Series decisively (12-1) over the New York Yankees. The Braves ultimately lost that Series because they could not win tighter matchups against the Yankees. None of the Yankees’ four victories were decided by more than three runs.

When the Sox broke the Curse of the Bambino in 2004, they deviated from their norm of collapsing in close games. Two extra-inning victories over the Yankees in the American League Championship Series stunned the New Yorkers, as well as those Sox fans who were already drafting another chapter to the Curse. What the 2004 ALCS demonstrated is that baseball is a mixture of rout and nail-biter, from an easy 19-8 win for New York to a dramatic 5-4 Sox victory in 14 innings. Championship teams need to know how to win both types of games.

A 13-1 Series-opening win is certainly a promising start for the Sox, and for New Englanders who remember good Boston teams in the past who never made it to Game One of a Fall Classic. But the Sox are successful now. They are playing in their second Series in four seasons, and their batting and pitching both seem to be peaking (even if, as I mentioned when they began their playoff quest, they seem overly dependent on home runs). If they can win 2-1 as well as 13-1, the Sox might have another title to share with their fans.

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Entry filed under: Baseball, boston red sox, sports. Tags: , , , , , , .

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