Last night I saw some Red Sox fans leave Fenway when the Tampa Bay Rays scored two runs in the seventh inning to extend their lead to 7 - 0. Well I bet those folks were sorry they tried to beat the traffic (which you can't really do in Boston anyway), because they missed the biggest post-season comeback since the 1929 World Series! Of course, I should give at least some of the credit for the Red Sox comeback to the Rays manager. Who in their right mind would pull a starting pitcher who was pitching a 2-hit shutout and completely humiliating the Red Sox hitters? A pitcher, I might add, who is young and strong with awesome dominating stuff. This would have been the FINAL and DECIDING game of the series, and the pitching staff was going to be able to enjoy a five day rest before the beginning of the World Series. But some modern-day Managers feel like pitch counts are more important than winning games... Oh well, I must give credit to the Red Sox who never gave up, took advantage of some weak defense and terrible relief pitching, and climbed what must have seemed like an insurmountable mountain to win the game 8 - 7.
Boston still has a tough road ahead, since they will need to win 2 straight games in the Rays' home park, but at least they still HAVE a road! Speaking of post-season comebacks, I read that the biggest comeback was in Game 4 of the 1929 World Series which featured the Chicago Cubs against the Philadelphia (yes they were in Philly and Kansas City before arriving in Oakland) Athletics. Cubs' starter Charley Root was rolling along with a shutout as the Cubs led 8 - 0 in the bottom of the seventh inning. The A's rallied against Root and a succession of relievers for TEN runs in that inning and ended up winning the game 10 - 8.
In that famous game 79 years ago, the starting pitcher for the A's was Jack Quinn, age 46! He didn't get the win as the Cubs knocked him out of the game before the A's had their big comeback. Quinn, who was born Joannes Pajkos in 1883 in what is now Slovakia, was just a little bit older than the Phillies' Jamie Moyer is now. Moyer will turn 46 after the season.
While I hope Jamie does a lot better in the World Series than he did in his last 2 starts, the Phillies had better take heed from the lessons of 1929. If you start a pitcher that old, you'd better be ready to score a bunch of runs that day! Actually, Jamie (like Quinn) is a contact pitcher and is likely to give up a least a couple of runs even on a good day. But I love seeing him fool the hitters and I admire his knowledge and competitive spirit.
By the way, Jack Quinn wasn't finished in 1929. He continued to pitch in the Major Leagues until 1933 (the year he turned 50!). So here's hoping Jamie Moyer continues to have success for a while longer too.