If you’re a Boston Red Sox fan who loves offense, then the 2007 American League Championship Series was for you.
As you likely remember, Boston erased a 3-1 series deficit and eventually beat the Cleveland Indians in seven games to advance to the World Series. However, the 2007 ALCS actually began on a positive note for Terry Francona’s club. The Red Sox offense racked up 10 runs in support of a stellar Josh Becket to take Game 1 at Fenway Park. Every member of lineup not named J.D. Drew had at least one hit as Boston clobbered C.C. Sabathia in the series-opening victory.
Because the 2007 ALCS ended with a dramatic Game 7 victory, it’s easy to overlook some of the notable moments from earlier in the series.
NESN’s latest “Red Sox Encore” series continues at 8 p.m. ET on Thursday night with Game 1 of the 2007 league championship series against the Indians. Here’s what you might have forgotten about that game:
1. Josh Beckett was excellent
Likely because his career in Boston ended on a sour note, Beckett’s performance in the 2007 postseason rarely is mentioned among the greatest in Red Sox playoff history. In reality, Beckett’s October heroics that year should be discussed in the same breath as Curt Schilling’s greatness in 2004 — he was that good. That said, Beckett’s performance in Game 1 against the Indians probably was his “worst” of the postseason, though he still was at the top of his game. Fresh off his complete-game shutout in Game 1 of the previous series, the hard-throwing right-hander limited the Indians to two runs on four hits while walking none and striking out seven over six innings. A solo home run from Travis Hafner in the first inning and an RBI single from Asdrubal Cabrera in the sixth accounted for all the damage against the Red Sox ace.
2. CC Sabathia was not
Sabathia was a proven postseason performer over the course of his career, but he didn’t put his best foot forward in Game 1 of the 2007 ALCS. The then-26-year-old allowed eight runs on seven hits and a whopping five walks over 4 1/3 innings. He threw just 44 of his 85 pitches for strikes in what was a forgettable game for the future Hall of Famer. Sabathia would go on to have many fine playoff performances, but this certainly was on to forget for the intimidating lefty.
3. Red Sox broke the game open in the third inning
By the end of the third frame, the rout was on at Fenway. Julio Lugo began the inning with a ground-rule double, which Dustin Pedroia followed with a sacrifice bunt to move Lugo to third. Sabathia then walked Kevin Youkilis, hit David Ortiz and walked Manny Ramirez to score Lugo. A Mike Lowell double, Bobby Kielty (shout-out) intentional walk and Jason Varitek RBI groundout out later and the Red Sox had a 5-1 lead. Boston later scored three runs in the fifth and two more in the sixth, finishing the game with 12 hits, including five doubles.
4. David Ortiz, Manny Ramirez stayed hot
Ortiz and Ramirez both had great games — shocking, we know. Ramirez finished 2-for-2 with three RBIs and three walks — raising his postseason batting average to .500 — while Ortiz went 2-for-2 with two walks, leaving him with a ho-hum .778 average through four playoff games. The Red Sox received contributions from all over their lineup throughout the 2007 championship run, but Ortiz and Ramirez (and eventual World Series MVP Mike Lowell, of course) did much of the heavy lifting.