Sox find themselves in another epic ALCS

Sox find themselves in another epic ALCS
October 18, 2013, 7:45 pm
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BOSTON -- Five games in, and at least one more game to go. Every game but one decided by a single run.    

So far, we've had a near no-hitter, a game-tying grand slam, a walkoff win and a player tumbling over a bullpen wall. And that was just Game 2.    

The American League Championship Series between the Red Sox and Detroit Tigers isn't over yet. Game 6 takes place Saturday, and if necessary, Game 7 would be Sunday.    

There have been great pitching performances on both sides, athletic plays in the field for both teams and bone-jarring collisions at the plate.    

There have been tape-measure homers and well-executed bunts; superb starting pitching and shutdown relief.    

It's not over yet, and already, it's been a classic series, certain to be talked about for a long time.    

Well, of course it's been an epic ALCS. It involves the Red Sox. And when the Red Sox take part in the ALCS, it's usually memorable if not historic.    

You can look it up.    

Since the LCS expanded to a seven-game format in 1985, the Sox have been to the series on six occasions: 1986, 1999, 2003, 2004, 2007, 2008 and this October.    

Of the first six, five went to a seventh and deciding game. Each but the one in 1999 would go on a short list of the some of the best baseball post-season series in the modern era.    

* In 1986, the Red Sox were down to their last at-bat in Game 5 and about to be sent home for the winter before Dave Henderson's home run off Donnie Moore turned that game and the rest of the series around. It was the first of three straight wins for the Sox, would win Game 7 and advance to the World Series.    

* In 2003, the Red Sox seemed on the verge of beating the New York Yankees in Game 7 at Yankee Stadium. But Grady Little stayed too long with a tiring Pedro Martinez, the Yankees tied up the game and -- perhaps you've heard about this? -- won it on Aaron Boone's leadoff homer in the 11th off Tim Wakefield.    

* In 2004, the Red Sox pulled off the greatest comeback in baseball post-season history. Seemingly on the verge of being swept by their arch-rivals the Yankees, the Red Sox came back in the ninth inning of Game 4, forcing extra innings. They won that night, and then won seven more games without interruption as they secured their first championship since 1918.    

* In 2007, the Red Sox trailed -- does this sound familiar? -- three games to one to the Cleveland Indians. But a grand slam by J.D. Drew keyed a comeback and a pennant-clinching victory in Boston. Just like in 2004, the Red Sox never lost again after winning Game 5 of the ALCS, going on to another sweep in the World Series.    

* In 2008, the Sox....wait for it.....trailed three games to one but erased a 7-0 deficit in Game 5 against Tampa Bay. When they won Game 6 at Tropicana Field, another miraculous series win seemed assured. Alas, the Sox put the tying run on base in both the eighth and ninth innings, only to fall short.    

Now, here is the American League Championship Series again, and once more, the Sox find themselves involved in a series for the ages.    

In the first two games of the series, the Red Sox collected all of two hits against Detroit's starting pitchers but somehow managed a split.    

A 1-0 Game 4 was a mesmerizing pitcher's duel between Justin Verlander and John Lackey. The winning pitcher was not the former Cy Young Award winner and one-time A.L. MVP; rather, it was the same guy who, two years ago posted the highest ERA for a starter in Red Sox history.    

Go figure.    

The Sox are hitting a collective .206 but lead the series. The bullpen, thought to be a weak spot, has instead been nearly unhittable, allowing one run in five games, covering 17 innings. They can't beat Detroit's No. 4 starter, but they came back to beat the guy who didn't allow a hit in the first game.    

Nothing makes sense, and yet it all makes sense.   

Best of all? It's not over yet.     

Anything can still happen, and probably will. It's the Red Sox in the American League Championship Series.