The Series Will Go On

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By Paul M. Banks and Soxman

(SM) Another quick one tonight as once again I just got back from rocking at the Cell with Batboy. Once again, we saw our boys stay alive on an absolutely brilliant performance by John Danks.  Six and two thirds innings pitched with 7 K’s!
 
Our offense actually was on key; unlike the first two games in Tampa Bay as we only left five runners on base in this game (not 12 like in game two) and proved it is possible for this team to win without hitting the long ball.
 
As has been the case for the last two years, the double play hurt when we had a rally going, but we were able to pull through, and NOT get down when Tampa Bay drew first blood.
 
(PMB) My keys to winning game four: 

-Picking your poison in the Rays offense. Certain members of the Tampa lineup are going to get good pitches to swing at. The key is limiting the damage. Evan Longoria was on fire in game one, B.J. Upton in game three. If only one or two of their hitters are feeling the groove within the same game, we should be fine.

-Limiting mistakes on the mound. The superb pitching of the young starters John Danks and Gavin Floyd this season are the main reasons that we’re even here right now. Both were a pleasant surprise in just how much they developed in 2008. Danks only made two big mistakes today: leaving one up in B.J. Upton’s wheelhouse and not getting over to cover first base quickly enough on the play that scored the game’s first run. The Sox hitters should provide enough offense to compensate for a mistake or two. But not five or six.

-Taking/finding/grabbing/seizing/gripping/stealing the extra base by ANY means necessary. And halting Tampa Bay from doing the same thing. Remember Grinder rule #7 “Grinder ball requires speed, defense, and discipline. And immigration.”
 

(SM) Mother Nature also helped us tonight as the Rays batting practice session was cut short due to the weather.
 
There was an excellent performance by the bullpen tonight as well.  Dotel, Thornton, and Jenks shut the door.
 
Speaking of which, GREAT sportsmanship was exhibited when Matt Thornton went to tag Tampa Bay’s Willy Aybar in the eighth. After the two had a collision up the first-base line, they bumped fists to show there were no hard feelings on the play.  Well done.


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(PMB) We must get to the Rays bullpen in the same manner that we got to starter Matt Garza today. Remember, in 2005 during the World Series we hit both Houston’s Chad Qualls and Brad Lidge in the clutch. I’m hoping that we can knock Grant Balfour around a bit the next time we see him, so by the time they have to use Dan Wheeler they no longer have the lead. The Sox have shown the ability to score runs off much better closers, even K-Rod who eclipsed the saves record of our good friend Bobby Thigpen this season, so logic dictates we should hit Wheeler pretty well at least once during this series.
 
 

(SM) I also loved the way Ozzie put AJ back into the two hole, who responded by going 2 for 3 with a walk.  A.J. is the hottest hitter on the Sox in the ALDS hitting .500.
 
 Dewayne Wise also performed lower in the order.  How about Ken Griffey Jr. going 2 for 2 and drawing a walk?  The biggest surprise?  We also stole bases!  Great baseball.
 
Remember Sox fans, I told you that NOTHING IS OVER until the final bell rings.
 
 
(PMB) I agree that A.J. needs to stay in the two-hole. More at-bats for A.J. means more chances for him to reach base, and we all know what type of pro-Sox hi-jinks and ballyhoo can occur when Pierzynski is on the base paths. He did it once to the Rays this season. And he did it a couple times in the Sox last postseason. I hope history can repeat itself here!
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(SM) Hopefully Gavin Floyd can continue the great starting rhythm for us on Monday.  Floyd has been good in his last two starts going 1-0 with a 3.86 ERA.  Our advantage is that Tampa Bay has not seen him at all this season.  Gavin’s WHIP has been up as of late as well.  He must limit the walks and let Tampa Bay bring the offense to us.
 

(PMB) Refer to grinder rule #4 “Knowing what’s coming and hitting what’s coming- not the same thing.” 

Today, I fanned the leadoff opposing hitter in the second game of a softball double header. After my victim went back to the dugout I yelled, “That’s right. I’m the Gavin Floyd of Sports Monster.” This set the tone for my team, the Springfield Isotopes, to triumph 18-1 in slow pitch softball. Yes, I surrendered just one run in SLOW-pitch softball. I don’t bring this up to sound like Al Bundy, I do it because the real Gavin Floyd needs to do the exact same thing on his level tomorrow at 4PM.

“Share the passion. Show the swagger.” This will set the tone early and get in the Rays’ heads. Look at how Grant Balfour got into the head of Orlando Cabrera in game one and stayed in his head for game two. Pitching requires much more of a mental component than hitting does and Pretty Boy Floyd needs to check mate the Rays lineup in the at bat “chess match.”
 

(SM) We have to get past Andy Sonnanstine, who was tough on the Sox earlier this season in Tampa.  In his last start he gave up five runs in just over five innings.  The Sox need to draw walks, but also not hesitate to jump on him quickly.  If they can continue to produce at least 5 runs, we should be able to take this game and force a game five in Tampa.
 
(PMB) Sonnanstine is the weak link of the Tampa rotation. Now granted that is a world away from being the weakest link in Cincinnati’s or Texas’ rotation…but still his track record makes me glad that he is the one on the hill against us in an elimination game. 
 

(SM) Go Sox!!!!  I have not “stopped believing!”

(PMB) I shall join you at the park tomorrow. And here are a couple songs to get White Soxman Nation fired up!

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Comments

  1. Go Sox!!!!

  2. Sox gal holla says

    Great, quick posting. Soxman how do you have time 4 it all?

    Saw you on TBS Again. It is awesome to see your face in back of Danks. It is almost like you are the Sox gaurdian.

  3. Sox it 2 Me says

    Great article guys. Soxman you were also on Fox news last night. nice way to address the Cubs.

  4. Yeaaasss. Good insight by both of you. Keep it moving boys. :)

  5. Love it!

    Go Sox!

  6. Billy Blast says

    Soxman you are representing us well. Keep it up.

    Congrats on the softball win Banks.

  7. When are you gonig to catch up on your myspace mail?

    I want to see some play-off pics.

  8. Great stuff as always! We love ya Soxman!

  9. Ko’d Konerko says

    Thanks for representing us well Soxman. TBS loved you. Good info guys.

  10. Soxtober Kid says

    Awesome and yes have seen you on TV also. You also got props on the SCORE during the pregame yesterday.

  11. Good work Paul!

    Go soxman!!!

  12. Help us get one tonight soxman! We need you.

  13. Lets sting the Rays right back again today and take this back to the dome.

    No more cow bell

  14. My key to winning game 4? Get Soxman and Batboy at the darn park!

  15. Heidi Hot Sox says

    Go Soxman Go! Good article by both of you.

    It is so much fun seeing you all over the TV. It makes fans feel like they are right by your side.

  16. BOO!

  17. Andy’s simple message almost made me spit up my cocoa krispies

  18. paulmbanks says

    That was a pretty good response Andy. If it makes you feel any betetr, Gvain didnt even survive the 4th today and we’re currently in deep shit

  19. paulmbanks says

    NO MORE COW BELL!!!

    Thanks to everyone who posted compliments on our exchange today…too bad it’s looking like we won’t get another chance to write another one.

  20. paulmbanks says

    I feel like summer officially ended today. B.J. Upton can kiss my ass

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