It's a feeling Cubs fans know all too well.
Up 3-1 in the league championship series, the Indians thought they were sitting pretty. When Beckeet beat Cleveland in game five, that still didn't worry too many Indians fans, much like our game five loss to the same Josh Beckett didn't phase us. Okay, so the Tribe didn't have Prior and Wood to pitch in games six and seven (they did have Carmona and Westbrook) and the series wasn't heading back to their home ballpark, but nonetheless, the defeat in game five wasn't seen as a step towards elimination, but rather a day delaying the inevitable.
Josh Beckett - Pitcher
2003 Game 5 of NLCS vs. Cubs:
CG, 2 H, 0 ER, BB, 11 K
2007 Game 5 of ALCS vs. Indians:
8 IP, 5 H, ER, BB, 11 K
But eliminated are the Indians and Kenny Lofton is again forced to watch another World Series despite having been up 3-1 in the LCS.
So who are the favorites in the 104th Fall Classic?
Well, for every bit that the Rockies were sizzling,t eh Red Sox seem to be just as hot now, especially with the long lay-off for Colorado. Call it extra rest if you want, but Boston is still getting two days off -- plenty of time to reset the rotation and ice down some nagging injuries, but not enough time to lose momentum.
The Red Sox are no doubt the better team on paper, and while I said earlier that that didn't matter to the Rockies, Boston now has just as much magic on their side, having snatched the American League pennant from the jaws of defeat. And even though the Rockies have the Coors Field wild card, Boston has been equally tough at their home, if not tougher, having won nine of their last eleven postseason games at Fenway.
If Colorado had home-field advantage, it would be a different story, and for that reason, if the first two games at Fenway are split, the Rockies have a fighting chance. But many of the young Rockies have not felt the pressure of being in a big postseason series in a big baseball city yet,; the road to the Series for them went through Philadelphia and Phoenix, not Chicago or New York, or Boston. If the first two games go Boston's way, the younger more inexperienced team may shut down; besides it would mean that they feel overmatched and would have to win all three games at Coors and another at Fenway.
Plus, the Rockies haven't stared down the barrel of three aces yet. Sure, they ran into the Cole Hamels and the Brandon Webbs, but Beckett, Schilling, and Matsuzaka in back-to-back-to-back games? And as if that weren't enough, the bullpen features Okajima, Gagne, and Papelbon, a back three that would make even Arizona feel jealous.
At least the Diamondbacks couldn't hit.