CLEVELAND — It’s officially Rocktober. Congrats to the Rockies, especially for making me look smart for picking them as the National League champ when the playoffs began. Now, if the Tribe can follow suit to make my World Series picks hold up, that’d be quality.
I actually lived in Colorado for two years — about 50 minutes south of Denver in Colorado Springs — during my last two years in high school. Whenever I had some spare time, I’d hop in my Ford Exploder (may it rest in peace) and haul up to Coors Field and take in some Rox games. I saw the one and only Mike Lansing hit for the cylce on one occasion.
I wasn’t a big Rockies fan, but it was the only baseball team around, so I enjoyed heading to Denver to watch some ball. So, part of me is happy to see Colorado advance to the Fall Classic. Besides that, the run they’ve been on has been nothing short of amazing. They were in fourth place in the NL West when their run began, and now they have a pennant. Incredible.
As for the Red Sox here in Boston, they were simply manhandled by Jake Westbrook — 14 groundball outs through six innings. Daisuke Matsuzaka didn’t pitch terribly, but the Tribe forced him to throw a ton of pitches and the few mistakes he made were enough in light of Westbrook’s performance.
After the game, Matsuzaka was not in a good mood. We spent more than an hour standing and waiting to see if Dice-K would talk to the media, which he is usually good about. He sat at his locker staring ahead, let out some sighs, leaned back in his chair, took a minute to eat some dinner, went back to sitting alone at his locker, and finally — for just the second time this year — he only offered a short statement, opting not to take questions.
While Dice-K sat in one corner of the clubhouse, David Ortiz and Josh Beckett were lounging on some couches in the middle of the room, throwing down some cold ones while watching the D-backs/Rockies game. If there was ever a moment that made Ortiz seem like the Dominican Babe Ruth, this was it. He was all smiles, joking with reporters, shaking off a report that said his knee injury might’ve kept him out of the ALCS, and throwing his arm around one TV guy during an interview.
At one point, shortstop Julio Lugo walked over and said, "Papi, what, you don’t have no family? Why don’t you go home?"
To which Ortiz flashed his wide smile and replied, "If I went back to my hotel, I’d be doing the same, but without the beer. So, I stay here and get beer for free."
During a later conversation, Beckett offered this beauty of a line: "You can’t buy love, but you can buy so much affection that you can’t tell the difference."
With that gem, here’s tonight’s lineups:
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Kevin Youkilis, 1B
David Ortiz, DH
Manny Ramirez, LF
Mike Lowell, 3B
J.D. Drew, RF
Coco Crisp, CF
Doug Mirabelli, C
Julio Lugo, SS
PITCHING: RHP Tim Wakefield
Grady Sizemore, CF
Asdrubal Cabrera, 2B
Travis Hafner, DH
Victor Martinez, 1B
Jhonny Peralta, SS
Kenny Lofton, LF
Casey Blake, 3B
Franklin Gutierrez, RF
Kelly Shoppach, C
PITCHING: RHP Paul Byrd