What Game 3 Means for the Red Sox

After Saturday night's extended Game 2, Pat Lackey opined that the Red Sox were right where they wanted to be. They earned a split on the road and were coming home to Fenway with Jon Lester on the mound. Nine innings away from a 2-1 series lead, right?

Wrong. Lester got banged around by B.J. Upton and Evan Longoria and couldn't keep his team in the game long enough to make it interesting. The Sox absolutely needed Lester to win tonight to maintain belief that they could overcome the impact Josh Beckett's injury is having on their rotation. He couldn't do it, though, and the Sox now have a helluva lot riding on the shoulders of a 42-year old knuckleballer.

Compounding their problems on the mound is the continued futility of Jacoby Ellsbury and David Ortiz at the plate. Neither man has a hit through three games, which makes it awfully hard for the Sox to put together long rallies and take advantage of their other, hotter hitters with any consistency. All that adds up to some serious problems for the defending champs.

When Rocco Baldelli's gargantuan blast extinguished the last flicker of hope for a comeback in Game 3 you could almost feel the gloom enveloping Red Sox nation. It isn't on the level of the old days, nothing could be, but for a certain vintage of fans it can't be hard to see some negative writing on the wall.

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