ALDS Game 3: Sleep is for Chumps

1220451928And here we thought games ending at 1 a.m. were over once the Sox left the west coast. Last night was one giant buzzkill for your defending world champs. It wasn’t the loss that hurt the most, however, it was the performance of Josh Beckett.

How’s your oblique, Josh? “Feel fine,” he said. OK, how is the ace’s health, Captain ‘Tek? “I tip my cap to him for even being able to take that ball tonight.” Ruh-roh. If Beckett can’t be Becklett—evil Texas bad-ass Beckett—that changes the Sox’ expectations quite a bit in that they are left with one sure thing (Jon Lester) and a whole bunch of have to wait and see’s.

After the jump, three more observations.

Thanks to an apartment move I was cable-less this weekend, which left me at the mercy of the radio. Ah, radio. At 4 I tried to listen to Gil and Gino, but gave up and settled for cbssportsline’s game-tracker, which, while cold and impersonal, at least got the details right. The Sox game was a much easier listen thanks to Joe Castiglione and Dave O’Brien. That’s a long build-up for saying the following observations came through someone else’s filter, but…

1. Is Dustin Pedroia pressing, trying to justify the MVP hype, or do the Angels just have a solid gameplan for the little instigator? Pedroia’s struggles have been minimized somewhat by having a hot Jacoby Ellsbury hitting in front of him, but for the Sox offense to click they need both of them to get going. Pedroia and Ellsbury have to get on base to provide protection for David Ortiz.

2. Again, hard to tell without the benefit of HD, but how tight was Kerwin Danley’s strike zone last night? Joe and Dave indicated the Beckett and Joe Saunders had issues with the zone, and at a tidy 5 hours, 19 minutes last night’s game was hardly brisk.

3. If tonight comes down to the bullpens, whose pen is in worse shape? Both Terry Francona and Mike Scioscia did stellar jobs managing their staffs until extra innings when it becomes hope and luck. Frankie Rodriguez has looked entirely human, but Jonathan Papelbon declared his status for tonight as “question mark.” He then asked if he had chocolate ice cream on his face, so who the hell knows?

Bonus: It’s entirely too early to think about such things, but that’s never stopped us before: If the Sox make the World Series there will be a plethora of distracting storylines for everyone to chew over. If it’s the Phils, Francona will be asked to retell the story of how someone slashed his tires after a game approximately 235 times. Plus, we’ll have to deal with old friend John Gonzalez, and no one wants that.

And if it’s the Dodgers, prepare for Armageddon.