If I have but one regret in this life, it is that I named my son on the day of his birth rather than simply referring to him as “boy” until the end of last night’s game, at which point I’d have officially dubbed him The Magnificent & Merciful Lord Andrew Benintendi Zal. (Granted, it would have been odd to call him “boy” for the past 15 years … but, in hindsight, totally worth it.)
The “Magnificent” part refers, of course, to the catch itself:
🗣 BENNY. IS. ALWAYS. THERE. #DoDamage pic.twitter.com/FISRGPffJn
— Red Sox (@RedSox) October 18, 2018
The “Merciful” refers to the fact that young Andrew saved my life. You see, I do not possess any prescription heart medication, and watching Craig Kimbrel once again douse himself with gasoline and attempt to traverse a tightrope made out of rattlesnakes strung above a pool of fire filled with mechanical sharks had me on the verge of what medical professionals refer to as “a significant cardiac event.”
Yes, Andrew, howl … howl like I howled when you made that catch and I subsequently realized I could finally go to bed.
Also, Andrew, when you’re done howling, I do have one additional request: Please alert your manager to the fact that Craig Kimbrel is broken. Yes, he was once money in the bank. Yes, his beard is magnificent. And, yes, based on his record, it looks like he’s gone 4-for-4 in save opportunities this postseason … but that stat fails to convey the magnitude of the raging dumpster fire that was Mr. Kimbrel’s actual in-game performance on all four occasions.
To look at it on paper, you would think the Sox have been nothing but dominant in the month of October, during which they’ve gone 6-for-8 … and only two of those six wins have been at Fenway; they are a jaw-dropping, ass-kicking, home-team-stomping 4-for-4 on the road this postseason.
Those numbers, of course, belie the fact that Sale and Porcello couldn’t make it past the fourth inning during their most recent starts, and that Price only fared slightly better, going 4.2 innings in Game 2. They also fail to reveal just how shaky Kimbrel has been. The once-dominant closer has coughed up a run in each of his four saves; watched an endless salvo of moonshots stray just barely into foul territory; surrendered a deluge of hits; walked a small army; drilled multiple batters; and recorded no small number of outs in the form of towering, warning-track shots that barely fell shy of being game-tying or game-winning dingers.
Fortunately, after starting the postesason with a whimper, the Sox bats have come alive … none more so than this man’s:
“Put it on the Blu-ray!”
That’s what I heard my son yell from his bedroom the night before last … and though I didn’t yet know exactly why he was yelling it, I was pretty confident it had nothing to do with the homework he was supposed to be finishing. Turns out that the Game 3 feed he was watching on his phone was about 10 seconds ahead of the one I was watching in the front room. And so, while I was still watching Jackie Bradley Jr. wait for Osuna to deliver his next pitch, I knew from my son’s “Put it on the Blu-ray!” exclamation — a reference to the ’04, ’07 & ’13 World Series documentaries that he and I have watched multiple times — that something epic was about to happen.
Oh yes. Epic indeed.
A grand slam from JBJ, whose nine RBIs in this series are the third most by a Red Sox player in an ALCS. The other two? David Ortiz in 2004 and Manny Ramirez in 2007.
The offense has awakened. The bullpen is getting it done. The Boston Red Sox are a single win away from going to the World Series … and I am more excited about it than any grown man who doesn’t actually play for the Boston Red Sox should be.
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