BOSTON (CBS) – Game 4 of the American League Championship Series between the Red Sox and Houston Astros was a fall classic. Sure it was long, lasting 4 hours and 33 minutes. But it was a classic.
Let’s get to some quick thoughts on some of the highlights.
– I was sitting in the auxiliary press box in dead center field. I watched the Jose Altuve ball go up. I saw Mookie Betts jump and get interfered with as he tried to catch the ball.
It was close, but I thought the fans were leaning over the fence as Betts jumped.
The key to me? Watch the replays and Betts’ left armpit took a long time to hit the wall as he made the play. That means he was in play, as were the fans. It was the right call.
– We saw a heavyweight fight between clearly two of the best teams in baseball. Punch, counter-punch, punch. Here it is, blow by blow.
2-0 Boston, 1st inning
2-1 Boston, 2nd inning
3-1 Boston, 3rd inning
3-3, 3rd inning
4-3 Houston, 4th inning
4-4, 5th inning
5-4 Houston, 5th inning
6-5 Boston, 6th inning
7-5 Boston, 7th inning
8-5 Boston, 8th inning
8-6 Boston – Final
– It ended on a beautiful diving catch by Andrew Benintendi with the bases loaded that Alex Bregman fisted out to left field. An incredible ending. The ball looked like it was going to get down and perhaps behind the Red Sox left fielder. It didn’t. Benintendi showed some rare emotion as Boston pulled it out. And well, he should. It was an incredible catch and to have it end the game – wow!
– On the other side of the outfield, Mookie Betts continues to show why he is the MVP. One-for-five with a hit by pitch and two runs scored. He was also robbed on a diving catch from Josh Reddick with the bases loaded in the 9th.
And, Mookie’s defense was on display again when he gunned down Tony Kemp to lead off the bottom of the 8th. It was a bang-bang play and a great turn and throw by Mookie. Rick Porcello said after that he thought it was the play if the game.
I was also shocked Kemp actually tried to stretch it to a double. I know Kemp is fast and he was just being his normal aggressive self. However, you can’t give up an out there – even if Mookie made a perfect play. You’re the lead-off hitter and your team is down three runs!
The simple look at it is… which scenario would you want, or really have to have there?
A) First hitter of the inning on 1st base with nobody out.
B) One out, nobody on.
– Alex Cora asked a lot from Craig Kimbrel and he responded. It wasn’t pretty again (think ALDS Game 4), But it worked. Amazingly, it was the first six out save of his career – regular or postseason. The longest prior to that was four outs. He’s on fumes, but showed a lot of heart by getting it done.
– Jackie Bradley, Jr hit .234 in the regular season. His last three games, all with two outs:
ALCS Game 2:
Two out, third inning 3-run bases loaded double to take 5-4 lead.
ALCS Game 3:
Two out, eighth inning grand slam to extend lead to 8-2.
ALCS Game 4:
Two out, sixth inning home run to re-take the lead at 6-5.
An incredible piece of work from Bradley Jr. for a guy who has taken his share of criticism all season long from media, fans. Credit to him for not letting affect his defense and for persevering.
-Credit Alex Cora for believing in Jackie Bradley Jr. and not sitting him down or making him a 4th or 5th outfielder.
– And while we’re at it, and thanks to my media colleague and friend Bob Socci for bringing this up. Credit to Dave Dombrowski for the moves he made around the MLB trade deadline. He didn’t trade away JBJ and picked up Steve Pearce, plus Nathan Eovaldi.
– We get another chance to watch David Price make his postseason mark tonight in Game 6. He wants the ball. It’s a tall task going up against Justin Verlander. If he goes toe to toe with him and the Sox wrap up the series tonight, it will be an incredible moment for him and his team. And, if he can’t get it done? The Sox have two more chances this weekend at Fenway to move on to the World Series.
– Finally, Happy 43rd Birthday to Alex Cora. Although, he’s really 45 after Craig Kimbrel took two years off of his life in ALDS Game 4 and ALCS Game 4!
– Rest up, take a nap, and enjoy Game 5 tonight