The throng was a cautious one. While Saturday night almost the whole bar sang along to the "National Anthem", on Sunday the faithful were quiet.
Of course they were in New York and of course these were all New Yorkers they were watching, but that doesn't mean they can't root for anyone they want. Sox fans get a lot of grief in New York for just being here. But, to me New York City has always been sold as a place where anyone could go and do whatever they want. That's how I got here. That's how so many generations of New Yorkers got here.
While the Sox were adding a run an inning through the first three, Dice-K did just what I asked of him. He pitched five innings that kept the Sox in the game. The Japanese news crew that showed up was very happy that this game turned out better than last week's. Dice-K left the game before the sixth with a 3-2 lead and our fate was now in the hands of the bullpen who pitched terrifically.
In a long standing Red Sox tradition (Bobby Doerr, Marty Barrett, Todd Walker, Mark Belhorn, et al.) it was the 2nd baseman that came through big in the playoffs. Dustin Pedroia hit a two run bomb to left that put the Sox up by 3 in the seventh then doubled to clear the bases in the eighth.
The hero of two games Josh Beckett was awarded the MVP trophy. He pitched great, but I don't think he pitched as well as Youkilis hit. According to MLB.com:
"Youkilis hit an even (14-for-28) during the series, besting Bob Boone's seven-game ALCS record of .455 in 1986. He scored 10 runs, breaking a three-year-old ALCS record held by the Yankees' Hideki Matsui. With 14 hits, including at least one in each game, Youkilis tied the LCS record jointly held by Matsui and Albert Pujols since '04. And each seemed bigger than the last."
Stat maniac David Tice agrees (bold added):
"In terms of runs created (without getting into batting the runner at first over to third to score on a later sac fly etc.), Youk matched or exceeded the Cleveland 0ffense in Games 1, 5, 6 and 7. In other words, the ones that the Red Sox won.
Beckett's pitching performances can't be overlooked, and Beckett and Schilling in games 5 and 6 just did everything you can do to keep your team in the game long enough to win, in games that they absolutely had to win, so I can see the ace getting the MVP. But it is rather suspicious that in a series marked by hugely unbalanced offensive swings, the Boston offense got superhot when Youkilis was hitting and did close to nothing (save Game 2) when he wasn't."
Even Youk himself commented on his blog today about one of the best hitting performances in playoff history and the lack of attention it received, "I had a good series swinging the bat, but I don't mind flying under the radar."