[editor's note, by Randy Booth] This is moment No. 8 in OTM's "Top 10 Red Sox Moments of 2007." No. 7 will be posted on Monday, Jan. 28.
JD Drew delivers one into the night during the ALCS.
It wasn't only the most improbable grand slam in Red Sox history. It wasn't only the most improbable home run in Red Sox history. In fact, it may go down as the most improbable hit in Red Sox history.
JD Drew's first inning grand slam off Fausto Carmona in game six of the ALCS was the proverbial dagger in the Indians' heart. After being down three games to two, the Red Sox obviously had to fight back in a big way. Every single member of Red Sox Nation knew the baseball Gods were watching over our team when Drew hit the ball.
When the ball left the bat, we knew we were safe. We knew what was in the Sox's future, because, hey, Drew couldn't have done that on his own.
After Curt Schilling earned a 1-2-3 inning to start the game, the Sox took their strides at the plate. Dustin Pedroia got it all started with a single through the right side. Kevin Youkilis did the same except through the left side. After Carmona's struggles earlier in the series, the Indians decided to walk David Ortiz to load the bases for Manny Ramirez. Sounds similiar to our No. 10 best moment of the Sox season, doesn't it?
But it wouldn't finish the same. Ramirez struck out on seven hard-fought pitches. Following him came Mike Lowell who couldn't do much better by flying out to right field. When things looked bad, it just got worse when Drew stepped to the plate.
I remember exactly what was going on around me at this time. I was in a hotel room in Washington, D.C. with a bunch of my fellow journalists, watching the game. A couple of people in the room (including both Red Sox and Yankee fans) knew it was over at that moment. Drew? He was a bust of course. He couldn't come in clutch when the Sox needed a boost. Of course not.
I was confident though. I knew Drew was due for something good, so why not now? I was probably one of two people in the room that "Had the Faith" despite numerous Red Sox "fans" that surrounded me.
I kept telling myself that Drew was a good hitter. A professional hitter. All we needed was a single to be the least bit satisfied and even our slumping right fielder could produce that.
He did me one better. Actually, he did me four better. On the fifth pitch of the at-bat, Drew was able to stroke a grand slam thanks to his gorgeous swing that seems to float cross the strike zone without a hiccup to disturb it. The ball was quickly in the seats; blowing up Boston in the process.
Needless to say, I was jumping for joy. Also needless to say, we had a noise complaint moments later. I guess we were the only people in the hotel from New England that night.
Drew finished both the ALCS and the World Series in fantastic form. He ended up batting .360 in the ALCS after 25 at-bats. Outside of Youkilis and Ramirez (.500 and .409, respectively), Drew was the star of the show with the wooden scepter in his hand during the ALCS. The World Series was just as good: .333/.412/.467 in four games for the World Champion Red Sox.
Drew reminds me a lot of Derek Lowe during his post-season effort in 2004. Lowe was really bad during the regular season, pitching to a 5.42 ERA in over 182 innings. But in the post-season he proved his worth by winning three games, each one being the clincher of the series. Lowe only gave up four runs in 19.1 post-season innings.
Drew took a page out of Lowe's book by struggling during the regular season and resurrecting himself during the post-season. Any Sox fan will tell you: we'll take it. We want our players to be studs all-year 'round but that just doesn't happen all the time.
Who knows what will happen with Drew and his future with the Red Sox. He's here today, but will he be here tomorrow? While Drew may not retire in Boston lore, his grand slam will always be remembered as a pivotal key to the Red Sox's 2007 Championship season.