2008 American League Championship Series
|Dates:||October 10 – 19|
|MVP:||Matt Garza (Tampa Bay)|
|TV announcers:||Chip Caray, Ron Darling and Buck Martinez|
|Radio announcers:||Jon Miller and Joe Morgan|
|Umpires:||Tim McClelland (crew chief), Sam Holbrook, Brian O'Nora, Brian Gorman, Alfonso Márquez, Derryl Cousins, Angel Hernandez (Game 7 replacement for Cousins)|
|ALDS:||Boston Red Sox over Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (3–1)|
|Tampa Bay Rays over Chicago White Sox (3–1)|
|2008 World Series|
The 2008 American League Championship Series (ALCS), the second round of the 2008 American League playoffs, was a best-of-seven series matching the two winners of the American League Division Series. The AL East Division champion Tampa Bay Rays, who had defeated the Chicago White Sox in the ALDS, were paired with the wild-card Boston Red Sox, who had defeated the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, in the ALDS. Tampa Bay held the home field advantage.
The Rays won the series four games to three, becoming the first team since the 1992 Atlanta Braves to win a seventh game after blowing a 3–1 lead. The series began at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida on Friday, October 10, 2008, and was telecasted on TBS. Game 7 was played on Sunday, October 19. This was the Rays' first appearance in the ALCS while the Red Sox were making their fourth appearance in the last six seasons and ninth overall. The two teams hit a combined 26 home runs—a record for league championship series.
Tampa Bay Rays vs. Boston Red Sox
Tampa Bay won the series, 4–3.
|1||October 10||Boston Red Sox – 2, Tampa Bay Rays – 0||Tropicana Field||3:25||35,001|
|2||October 11||Boston Red Sox – 8, Tampa Bay Rays – 9 (11 innings)||Tropicana Field||5:27||34,904|
|3||October 13||Tampa Bay Rays – 9, Boston Red Sox – 1||Fenway Park||3:23||38,031|
|4||October 14||Tampa Bay Rays – 13, Boston Red Sox – 4||Fenway Park||3:07||38,133|
|5||October 16||Tampa Bay Rays – 7, Boston Red Sox – 8||Fenway Park||4:08||38,437|
|6||October 18||Boston Red Sox – 4, Tampa Bay Rays – 2||Tropicana Field||3:48||40,947|
|7||October 19||Boston Red Sox – 1, Tampa Bay Rays – 3||Tropicana Field||3:31||40,473|
|WP: Daisuke Matsuzaka (1–0) LP: James Shields (0–1) Sv: Jonathan Papelbon (1)|
Boston won a pitcher's duel on a sac fly by Jed Lowrie in the fifth and an RBI double by Kevin Youkilis in the eighth. Starter Daisuke Matsuzaka was nearly unhittable in Game 1 of the 2008 ALCS. He held the Rays hitless until Carl Crawford singled in the seventh inning. All in all, he ended up allowing a total of four hits, while walking five in the game. Jonathan Papelbon pitched the ninth for his fourth career ALCS save.
|WP: David Price (1–0) LP: Mike Timlin (0–1)
BOS: Dustin Pedroia 2 (2), Kevin Youkilis (1), Jason Bay (1)
TB: Evan Longoria (1), B. J. Upton (1), Cliff Floyd (1)
The Rays won a hard-hitting, marathon game that lasted 5 hours and 27 minutes, on the strength of a B. J. Upton sacrifice fly in the eleventh inning. Seven total home runs were hit in the game, which broke the ALCS record and tied the all-time LCS record. Starters Scott Kazmir and Josh Beckett were both ineffective, giving up six of the seven total home runs in the game. Dustin Pedroia broke out of his post-season slump with a pair of solo shots off Kazmir. Despite the many home runs, it was a sac fly off Mike Timlin by Upton and a hard run from third base by Fernando Perez that won the game in the eleventh. The Rays' 2007 #1 draft pick, David Price, was credited with the win.
|WP: Matt Garza (1–0) LP: Jon Lester (0–1)
TB: B. J. Upton (2), Evan Longoria (2), Rocco Baldelli (1), Carlos Peña (1)
The Rays hit Boston ace Jon Lester hard in Game 3, moving ahead two games to one. The big blow came in the top of the third when B. J. Upton hit a towering three-run homer over the Green Monster to make it 4–0. Evan Longoria followed with a home run later in the inning to make it 5–0. Tampa Bay starter Matt Garza pitched brilliantly against the Red Sox lineup. The 3–4–5 hitters went 0–9 against him. In the eighth, New England native Rocco Baldelli hit a three-run homer of his own, also over the Green Monster, to seal the win. Carlos Peña homered in the ninth to extend his postseason success.
|WP: Andy Sonnanstine (1–0) LP: Tim Wakefield (0–1)
TB: Carlos Peña (2), Evan Longoria (3), Willy Aybar (1)
BOS: Kevin Cash (1)
The Rays routed the defending World Champions for the second straight night with a 13–4 win in Boston. Carlos Peña got it going in the first with a two-run homer off starter Tim Wakefield. Evan Longoria followed it up with his third homer of the series and fifth in the playoffs. After that Tampa Bay starter Andy Sonnanstine cruised with seven-plus innings of effective baseball. Willy Aybar hit his first home run of the postseason in the third when he sent one over the Green Monster for a two-run homer. Carl Crawford went 5-for-5 with two stolen bases in the game. The big inning came in the top of the sixth when the Rays scratched out five runs against the Boston bullpen.
|WP: Justin Masterson (1–0) LP: J. P. Howell (0–1)
TB: B. J. Upton (3), Carlos Peña (3), Evan Longoria (4)
BOS: David Ortiz (1), J. D. Drew (1)
Tampa Bay jumped out to an early lead when B. J. Upton hit a two-run home run with no one out in the first inning. Carlos Peña and Evan Longoria increased the lead to 5–0 with back-to-back home runs in the third. With his home run, Longoria tied Carlos Beltrán's record for consecutive postseason games with a home run. Daisuke Matsuzaka allowed no more runs after that through six innings, but Boston was unable to score against Scott Kazmir. In the top of the seventh, Jonathan Papelbon came on after Manny Delcarmen walked the only two batters he faced. The inherited runners scored on an Upton double, making it 7–0.
In the bottom of the seventh, with two outs and runners on first and third, Dustin Pedroia hit an RBI single off Grant Balfour to finally get the Red Sox on the board. The next batter, David Ortiz, hit a three-run home run to right field, ending a postseason home run drought of 61 at-bats. In the eighth inning, J. D. Drew hit a two-run homer to right field off Dan Wheeler. Later, Coco Crisp hit an RBI single to right field to score Mark Kotsay from second to tie the game. In the ninth inning, after J. P. Howell retired the first two Boston batters, Kevin Youkilis hit a ground ball to third base. Longoria scooped the ball, but his throw was off, and bounced into the stands, allowing Youkilis to reach second. After an intentional walk to Jason Bay, Drew hit a single over the head of right fielder Gabe Gross to win the game.
The comeback of the Red Sox from a seven-run deficit is the second-biggest in postseason history, the largest since Game 4 of the 1929 World Series, and the largest ever for a team on the brink of elimination.
|WP: Josh Beckett (1–0) LP: James Shields (0–2) Sv: Jonathan Papelbon (2)
BOS: Kevin Youkilis (2), Jason Varitek (1)
TB: B. J. Upton (4), Jason Bartlett (1)
Josh Beckett pitched five innings and allowed two solo home runs, to B. J. Upton in the first and Jason Bartlett in the fifth, to record the win. Boston scored on solo home runs from Kevin Youkilis in the second and Jason Varitek (his first series hit) in the sixth, a Youkilis ground ball in the third, and a single by David Ortiz after Bartlett's throwing error extended the sixth inning.
Umpire Derryl Cousins was struck by a foul ball from Varitek in the second inning, leaving the game with a bruised collarbone after the third. The game was delayed for fifteen minutes while Cousins was X-rayed by Rays trainer Ron Porterfield; the game resumed with a five-man umpiring crew.
TBS television missed most of the game's first inning, with viewers getting a rerun of The Steve Harvey Show instead. The network picked up the game just prior to the last out in the bottom of the first, with announcer Chip Caray apologizing to viewers for "technical difficulties". TBS acknowledged there was a problem with one of their routers used in the broadcast transmission of the relay of the telecast from Atlanta.
|WP: Matt Garza (2–0) LP: Jon Lester (0–2) Sv: David Price (1)
BOS: Dustin Pedroia (3)
TB: Willy Aybar (2)
The Rays shook off the ghosts of Red Sox past to win their first American League pennant, winning a tight game 3–1. Dustin Pedroia got the Red Sox off to a good start with a one-out solo homer in the first off Matt Garza, but Garza settled in and delivered an MVP performance. Tampa Bay tied the game in the fourth with an Evan Longoria RBI double, then went ahead in the fifth on an RBI single by Rocco Baldelli. In the seventh, Willy Aybar added insurance with a solo home run to leadoff. In the eighth, David Price, who made his major league debut a little over a month before came on to pitch to J. D. Drew with the bases loaded and struck him out on a checked swing. In the ninth, Price recorded his first Major League save by getting Jed Lowrie to ground into a force play to Akinori Iwamura. With the win, the Rays become the second team to go to the World Series after posting the worst record the year before, joining the 1991 Atlanta Braves, who went on to lose to the Minnesota Twins.
|Tampa Bay Rays||8||1||11||2||6||5||3||5||1||0||1||43||61||6|
|Boston Red Sox||3||1||3||0||4||3||6||7||1||0||0||28||57||0|
|Total attendance: 265,926 Average attendance: 37,989|
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