* ALDS Game 3 Preview

Don’t blame anyone if the Red Sox don’t win today. If they don’t win, it’s because the better team won.

Tony Graffanino is not Bill Buckner. Leave him alone. Unfortunately, if the Sox don’t win the next three, Red Sox fans in general (but not this one in particular) will not let Graffanino forget his error in Game 2 that gave an extra out to the White Sox (who responded with three unearned runs in the form a home run by Tadahito Iguchi).

But let’s not also forget that it took an entire Red Sox team to win 95 to get to the playoffs in the first place. Including Tony Graffanino. It will take an entire team to win today’s game. I like the fact the Graffanino got a hustle double with one out in the ninth inning in Game 2 to put himself in the position to score the tying run. But it takes a team to tango, and he was left stranded.

Where did the entire Red Sox team offense go after the 5th inning?

I have always viewed baseball games as three thirds. In Game 2, the Red Sox won the first third, the White Sox the second third, and the third third was a tie. You’ve usually got to win two out of three to win the game.

I would prefer to see the Red Sox land players who perform well in September, October, and in pressure situations (like RISP with two outs). In the final analysis, these are the only stats that matter.

Fans always seem to focus on the game that a team “should have won” (the devastating losses) while conveniently forgetting the games they “should have lost” (the dramatic comebacks). I’d like to see a stat that shows a team’s record minus these two types of games.

From a baseball fan’s perspective (not a Red Sox fan’s perspective), neither Game 1 nor Game 2 were particularly interesting to watch. Game 1 was a blowout. Game 2 was one (in part) due to an unfortunate error. I prefer to see error-free close contests.

When the Sox were getting ready to face the Yankees for the final three (or possibly four) games of the season, Johnny Damon said (among other things) “may the best team win.”

Don’t blame anyone if the Red Sox don’t win today. If they don’t win, it’s because the better team won.

Personally, I like Tim Wakefield’s chances in Fenway. In fact, I can’t think of any other pitcher in this year’s Red Sox team who I’d rather have on the mound today than Wakefield. I could do without the 4:00 start, however.

Go Sox!

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