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The absolute euphoria that hung like a cloud over the Greater Boston area last Sunday night was so thick that you could have walked on it. Well, perhaps not the likes of you or me, no  it’s likely you needed to be a charter member of that select group  known as “The Boston Sports Deities” to pull off such a feat. Fortunately  there are two who still walk among us. You may know them as Tom Brady and David Ortiz, but to us they are “Brady” and “Big Papi,” a pair whose heroic acts go back for over a decade, but still have the capability of making us believe that Karma is on our side…… at least for now. Unfortunately for both organizations though, the truth may very well be that certain realities are about to catch up with them. So let’s take a look at those realities, and then you can decide which one has the best chance of keeping that magic going the longest.

PITCHING IN:

Papi's heroics have changed the complexion of this ALCS. Is it enough? (CJ Gunther/EPA)
Papi’s heroics have changed the complexion of this ALCS. Is it enough? (CJ Gunther/EPA)

One reality facing the Sox is that they really only have two effective starting pitchers. The fact that one of them is Jon Lester is not a surprise, the fact that the other one is John Lackey, and not Clay Buchholz, is. The way the rotation is set, this probably means that they will end up with Buchholz having to win a crucial game 6, regardless of how Lester does tonight in game 5. I like Lester’s chances of shutting the Tigers down, as well as the likelihood that offensively, the Sox’s hitters will make Sanchez throw strikes and get him out of the game early. Of course, this gets us to the other reality facing the Red Sox, namely their hitting, or more precisely, their almost total lack thereof. I knew that the Tigers pitching was going to be tough, but I thought they could at least hit their weight. Through the first four games Middlebrooks, Drew, and Ortiz have only one hit a piece. Yes, that was Papi’s only hit, and as miraculous and well timed as it was, he needs to start hitting if the Sox are going to win this series and get to the Fall Classic.

Now if I had any patience, or better typing skills, I would have waited until after game 5 was over with to have written this. But, honestly,  I’m not sure that really matters. I would like to predict that whoever wins this game is going to win the ALCS, but I’m not sure that’s true. Regardless of how the Tigers do , you know they still have Verlander and Scherzer to throw at the Sox, and Boston, on the other hand,  has had a season of improbable comebacks, so what difference would one more make. At any rate, I’m contractually obligated to stay with my prediction of the Sox in seven. Fortunately for me, I know a good lawyer…

RETURN OF THE UNICORNS!?!

Thompkins goes up for the thrilling game-winner.  (Stephan Savoia/AP)
Thompkins goes up for the thrilling game-winner. (Stephan Savoia/AP)

Regardless of your NFL affiliation, I think you have to admit that a winning touchdown pass with 5 seconds remaining is a very cool thing. I watched it on my DVR after the fact, already knowing that the Pats had won, and I still threw my arms in the air and yelled “TOUCHDOWN!”, with absolutely no loss of excitement. This was not a game I thought New England had a chance of winning, and had stopped watching it after it looked like they were intent on squandering their final opportunities to get back into it. Fortunately for them, Sean Peyton got seriously conservative, and insisted on giving Brady three chances at pulling it out. Now the reality facing the Pats is that they may have finally got to the point where the number and quality of the players being lost, especially on the “D”, maybe too much to overcome. Wilfork and Mayo are done, Amendola is concussed, and perhaps most importantly, shut down corner Aqib Talib has had his chronic hip problem return, throwing his future into doubt. The Patriots next three games are all very winnable, even in their weakened state, and they could conceivably be 8-1 at their bye. However, you know the Jets, Dolphins, and Steelers are all fighting to save their seasons and are going to be looking to knock them off. To add to the drama, no one seems to know when, or for that matter if, Rob Gronkowski is going to return. I like the way the offense is coming together, but I would like it more if Gronk was playing.

Anyway, stay tuned…

Featured image courtesy of: Jim Rogash/Getty Images

Jerry Ballgame

About Jerry Ballgame

The personification of "old school", Jerry Ballgame was born in the shadow of Dr. Naismith's peach basket, and baptized in that "Dirty Water." Designated by his "Uncle" Ted, to keep an eye on things, he's here to tell everyone what his view is like from the Hub of the Universe.

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