Dear Red Sox, Win Tonight.

This is when I love baseball the most.  When all the games count, when everyone has to leave everything on the field, and rookies can lead your team in the year’s most important game to date.

Red Sox rookie Ryan Lavarnway started as catcher last night, with Salty and Tek hurting.  Lavarnway had all of nine-innings of Major League experience, and had never started a Major League game.  Of course, he hit two homers, caught a runner stealing, and had a clutch defensive play in the bottom of the ninth.

So the Sox stay alive.  And now they play the most important game to date, again, tonight.  Only this is a truly must-win.  This could be the very last game of Red Sox baseball in 2011.  I shudder at the thought!

And I say that even though this month has been infuriating to be a Red Sox fan.  It’s been absolutely deflating to watch them play, literally, the worst baseball I’ve ever seen them play.  But they have life.  They care.  And they’re too good to not destroy Baltimore tonight.

Sidebar: On September 11th, this was my status on Facebook:

Thank goodness there is an off day for the Sox tomorrow. I’m tired of watching their amazing team-wide push towards an epic collapse.

And, my followup comment responding to a few friends:

And yes, today’s game may literally have been the worst baseball I have seen played. (Bad starting pitching, failed pickoff attempts defensively, getting picked off offensively, bullpen implosion, overthrowing the bags, failing to hit with runners in scoring position…. and I even turned it off after the sixth)

Like I said, some of this has started to change, and tonight we’ll find out how much.  The bullpen has been solid (you can count Aceves as receiving the player-I-didn’t-expect-to-like-but-now-love award).  The offense has started to come through more consistently.  The defense has been better, the Red Sox have remembered how to turn double plays, which I had forgotten they could do.

Each time the Red Sox have won a championship in 2004 and 2007, they suffered through a collapse.  They were down 0-3 in the ’04 ALCS, and down 1-3 in the ’07 ALCS.   Now they’ve got the collapsing out of their system.  Now it’s time to turn it on.  Now it’s time to again forget yesterday and tomorrow.

Now, it’s time to win.  Go Sox.

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