Random Red Sox (and other) thoughts before Game 3

What you got to say, Randy? I'm listenin'. (via d.yimg.com)

With three hours until game time, I don't have one cohesive thing to say -- just a lot of little random things. Stick with me for a moment:

  • Thank god the series has shifted to Boston. Not just because Fenway Park is the greatest stadium in the history of sports (I said it), but because we'll be watching the Red Sox at a decent hour! No more writing recaps at 2 a.m. (hopefully).
  • Dustin Pedroia needs to start hitting and tonight it's a great time to start. He's 0 for 8 with two walks in the ALDS. Maybe he's just trying to do too much and that's effecting his performance. Hopefully once he steps into Fenway he can relax, take a deep breath and just smash the ball like he did all season long.
  • The obvious storyline tonight is Josh Beckett. All the reports say he's healthy -- I just hope we see that tonight. And who will we see? Regular season Josh Beckett, who was OK, but not great. Or the postseason version that is undoubtedly the biggest ass kicker in pro baseball?
  • More on Beckett: I just love this guy. He wants the ball in a big game and he's just going to shove 96 miles-per-hour fastballs down your throat, if that's what it takes. I love true gamers and it seems like the Sox have a handful of them, but Beckett is right at the top. Second is probably a tie between Curt Schilling and Jonathan Papelbon, but Jon Lester isn't too far back nor Daisuke Matsuzaka.
  • Who's going to get the loudest ovation tonight at the plate? I can't decide. It's either going to be JD Drew or Jason Bay, but probably Bay because Drew is out of tonight's lineup (more below). Could we have a better set of corner outfielders? We're never going to get the Manny Ramirez monkey off our backs, unfortunately, so I don't think these two guys get the credit they deserve. You know what? Officially, right now, in protest, I will never write the words "Manny Ramirez" on this Web site ever again. Hold me to it!
  • I hope we don't have to use the bullpen at all tonight, but if we do, I hope Terry Francona knows what he's doing. Game one wasn't bad, but game two didn't seem to be the most effective execution of bullpen arms. Hideki Okajima and Justin Masterson stayed in the game too long and Papelbon came in too late. If the bullpen does have to be used tonight, guarantee yourself to see Manny Delcarmen, who hasn't made an appearance in the ALDS yet.
  • Thank you, Over The Monster readers, for not being them.
  • I really feel bad for Cubs fans. We, as Red Sox fans, have been there before. And it hurts even more that the Cubs were so good this year. They almost seemed destined to at least make the World Series. And goats? There shouldn't be any. All that stuff is crap. They were beat by a team that had a lot of momentum, a team that had nothing to lose. There's always next year, Cubs fans.
  • It'll be a great showdown in the National League as the Phillies knocked off the Brewers today, setting up a Philly-Los Angeles series. My early prediction: LA. As much as I wouldn't want to see "That One Whose Name I Don't Speak" in the World Series, that team is dangerous. If the Phillies gets the bats going, though, it could be a different story.
  • Back to the Red Sox: Drew sits tonight to rest his back. He worked a lot two nights ago, obviously hitting the home run and making some taxing plays in right field. Mike Lowell, however, is in the lineup after not playing in game two.
  • With Drew out, Coco Crisp enters to play center field and Jacoby Ellsbury will move to right. Jed Lowrie is back at shortstop. This isn't an ideal lineup, but it's still a pretty strong one with Crisp in center field. Defense is a push in center, but it's a lot better in right with Ellsbury instead of an unhealthy Drew.
  • I'm hoping I'm wrong, but I think Joe Saunders could give the Sox fits tonight. He's a lefty which, automatically, means he'll give the Sox problems. Secondly, he's a much better pitcher away: 10-3, 2.55 ERA, .231 OBA. But he has never thrown a postseason pitch, so we'll see how he does with that.
  • One last thing: GO SOX!

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