Well, hell, kids. We really wanted Sooze to entertain us tonight, but she had to smear camoflague paint on her face, don her best bandana, and go behind enemy lines to fix the "technical difficulties" faced by TBS which has left us with Steve Harvey's mugging face. Follow us after the jump for our best attempt to discern game action through smoke signals from the Citgo sign.
8:21 pm: Apparently, Steve Harvey is learning some kind of life lesson while lifting up children at the local learning institution/collection of hackeration. The score of that would be Steve Harvey $1,000,000 - Humanity - zero going into the zinger ending.
In the game itself, Covelli Crisp stole first on a sketchy bunt and then gave it back shamefully when he was picked off. Shoplifting is a crime, Covelli! Papi put his old wrist back on for a strikeout to end the top of the first.
8:28 pm: B.J. Upton proves himself too sexy for the catwalk in the bottom of the first, invoking the rare Ceiling Rule Home Run to give the Rays a very dangerous lead. Rays 1-0. (You know they'll lose now!) Other people make outs to end the first. TBS has returned to Chip Caray and we don't know what lesson Steve Harvey learned. Frankly, we're all losers.
8:32 pm: Kevin Youkilis has just one response to Alvin and the Chipmunks: Manah manah, fos of mo. Manah f'in manah. Home run to left. 1-1 tie.
8:34 pm: Drew follows with a huge damned foul ball and a slight yet effective single.
8:36 pm: You think Longoria wants to break out the time machine right about now and slip back to Thursday night to try that throw again? At least we would know how Steve Harvey found a little bit of himself in his students now instead of sitcommus interruptus.
8:38 pm: Kotsay singles and it's first and second and one out. Is anyone else surprised MLB didn't wait for TBS to sort out their problems? After all, the game only exists for television viewing anymore. Why pretend it's about the fans in the stadium who just found out what that huge structure was in their backyard about three weeks ago?
8:39 pm: Long flyout to Upton and Upton fires the cannon ceremoniously to remind Jason Bay to just settle down at second and maybe open a fine adult beverage cause he ain't goin' anywhere.
8:42 pm: TBS blows off a commercial break after the third out in the top of two to do the pre-game schtick 1.5 innings late and show what we missed. How kind! Imagine how a real network might handle it. (Seriously, that was a Spike-level mistake.)
8:48 pm: Apparently, Josh Beckett is a back door man. This may explain the blisters. A ground out, a strike out, and a fly out make three outs and a blissful return to iPhone and erection commercials.
8:52 pm: Covelli's previous best hit as a Red Sock: "Don't Go Injurin' My Heart", his duet with J.D. Drew. His popout to his normal stomping grounds ends the canned story and moves on to Dustin Pedroia.
8:55 pm: Here's a bad sign, Lord Bud: Derryl Cousins is getting a lot of attention in the game already. Maybe he shouldn't be in the ALCS? Or is he the Hue Hollins of baseball? Li'l Dustin walks, amping up the discussion of umpire idiosyncrasies. Maybe we'll see Derryl's box tonight.
8:57 pm: Papi doubles down the first base line and Fraggle rocks the ball all the way to shortstop for an out but we get to hear Ron Darling and crew pull pubes from their teeth for Youkilis since someone was on third at the time with less than two out. Clutch! Red Sox 2-1.
9:00 pm: Baseball Musings is hearing that TBS couldn't show the game because they lost power in Atlanta. You'd think TBS might have prepared for this. Maybe it was something unexpected. Did Eric Rudolph break out of jail?
9:03 pm: J.D. Drew and Jason Bay walk and we think we can see a bit of Cousins' box peeking out. Based loaded with two out for Kotsay.
9:05 pm: Mark Kotsay crushes the ball 350 feet. Unfortunately, B.J. Upton was standing there. NOT CLUTCH. Not like Fraggle.
9:07 pm: Honest to God, if we wanted to think about a wrinkled old prick going on for hours, we'd pull up the Al Davis news conference again.
9:08 pm: One out.
9:09 pm: The people at the top of Tropicana Field have heard rumors of a baseball game but can't prove it.
9:10 pm: Bartlett takes a ball in his West Wing and heads to first.
9:12 pm: Walk Off Walk is hearing that Baseball Musings is full of crap and David Pinto is a total doo doo head. More as this develops.
9:14 pm: Iwamura pops out to Pedroia in the battle of the spunky ones. B.J. Upton comes to the plate but without a certain hustle. How can we support him?
9:16 pm: Each announcer attempts to tell us what pitch will beat B.J. Upton each time he bats. Every computer knows the only way to win at Global Upton Nuclear War is to not play. Care for a game of chess?
9:19 pm: If Upton has mad hops, then Beckett has sad hops. However, he wrangles the ball up the middle and tosses it to first for the third out. After three, it's Red Sox 2-1.
9:23 pm: Derryl Cousins is down! He must have dented his box.
9:26 pm: Maybe a dart to his groin from Lord Bud?
9:28 pm: Now the theory revolves around Jason Varitek, a foul ball, and a dart to the groin from Lord Bud.
9:31 pm: Craig Sager's Halloween outfit is apparently Boise State's home turf.
9:34 pm: Apparently, Tim McClelland needs to throw in the umpires' room to get warmed up before we can begin again. Until then, please enjoy the Steve Harvey Show.
9:37 pm: Who cares which line is uncovered? Instant replay will save us!
9:37 pm: Jed Lowrie flies out to left center and the third base umpire somehow heroically makes it out far enough to make the call. They're just so brave, y'know? So brave.
9:42 pm: 3-1 and a single. Two down. Cousins has been announced as out due to a blow to the chest. Or, as they say on Sundays, out with a chest. Frankly, we should have seen this coming.
9:46 pm: Peddy strikes out and the top of the fourth comes to a conclusion after a mere 17 hours.
9:51 pm: Reverse Tilde and Evan Almighty fly out in their own unique ways and it's hard to remember a baseball game was happening at one point. Any narrative flow has been staunched by the urban contemporary start to the game and the home plate umpire change, brought to you by Cousins' Subs.
9:54 pm: Crawford takes first on a Tropicana Field single (enriched with Vitamin Bloop).
9:56 pm: You won't believe it, but Carl Crawford stole a base off Jason Varitek. Honest. Take a moment if you need it.
9:58 pm: Cliffy grounds out 3-1 and the stolen base drama dissipates. After four, the Red Sox promise not to go away any time soon. Red Sox 2-1.
10:02 pm: After two quick outs, the "James Shields has it goin' on now" meme starts and dies in one throw as Drew smacks a double to the right field wall. "That's how games are extended... hits instead of outs." Sweet Jesus, my paradigm just shifted in my pants.
10:04 pm: The meme rises from the dead, covered in rotted flesh and Joe Morgan stories, when Bay pops out on one pitch. Done with the top of the fifth.
10:06 pm: If you know someone named Skinny Pete, send our apologies.
10:08 pm: Navarro strikes a solid single to right and now we get droning about the delay and who it hurt and blah blah when Buck Martinez pipes up, noting that Beckett has blown all postseason, so how would we know when he's sucking for a certain reason? Someone get some SPF 45 on that dog's posterior!
10:11 pm: Ben Zobrist, the last name in 2008 ALCS players, flies out to Covelli.
10:12 pm: Pushing the theory to its extreme, Navarro tries to take second (supposedly on a hit-and-run) and is only out by approximately seven leagues. Two down.
10:15 pm: Those of you with the overcoaching meme may step in here. The President takes a parade walk around the bases on a home run that almost caused Manhattan to call in with replay advice. Tied 2-2.
10:17 pm: Iwamura grounds out and sixteen Obama commercials in a row means the fifth inning has ended. Tied 2-2.
10:22 pm: Iwamura shows his continued serious disdain for balls in flight by ripping Kotsay's liner from the sky for one out.
10:24 pm: After a strikeout, Jason Varitek takes our abuse of him quite poorly by crushing a home run ball into right field and then glaring at us with his third eye. Red Sox 3-2.
10:25 pm: Covelli continues to get on base by screwing around on the infield. This latest insult sends James Shields to the showers. Please enjoy this interlude of someone applying for membership to the Evil League of Evil.
10:31 pm: Tigers fans have crawled under their sheets and begun shouting "LALALALALA I CAN'T HEAR YOU TBS", what with the errors and the nonsense and all. Jason Bartlett tosses a throw into left Pittsburgh, setting up first and third with two out for Le Papi Massive.
10:33 pm: Ortiz bookends Captain Clutch with his own act, singling to make it Red Sox 4-2.
10:36 pm: Fraggle strikes out and the pacemakers of Rays fans everywhere have stopped firing randomly.
10:41 pm: We are no longer waiting for Beckett's replacement (OMG SO ERUDITE) as Okajima has arrived in the bottom of the sixth.
10:42 pm: BeeJay lines the ball with force but Fraggle puts up his glove in self-defense and outs BeeJay. The Bear awaits.
10:44 pm: We don't mean to alarm the TBS crew, but it's okay that Okajima doesn't stare down the catcher during his entire pitching motion. See, it's not like Tim McClelland's going to grab Varitek, Peña, and home plate and yank them four feet to the right as soon as Hideki turns his head. Or pull them down inside the dugout, through the umpires' room door, and shove them into his equipment bag. Surprise!
10:45 pm: Peña is surprised to have experienced strike three.
10:48 pm: Evan Longoria meanders to first and it's still Derryl Cousins' fault somehow.
10:50 pm: Carl Crawford fails to succeed and earn a nickname with "Clutch" in it. The sixth ends and we close inexorably on Sunday baseball. Red Sox 4-2.
10:53 pm: J.D. Drew flies out to center and we're reminded to give a huge FAIL to the Tropicana groundskeepers for that sad attempt at physics representations in center field. See? They're rays!
10:54 pm: Jason Bay's internal organs attempt to get out of the way of a pitch at his thigh, so he's given credit for a HBP.
10:56 pm: Kotsay grounds out to the pitcher, placing Bay at second. Maddon goes to the bullpen for... well, you guess.
11:02 pm: Lowrie walks. We smell sulfur.
11:05 pm: A passed ball sends the runners to second and third. Your battery, ladies and gents: flint and tinder.
11:06 pm: Ben Zobrist puts out the fire.
11:09 pm: Willy Aybar hits for the DH. We think that says it all. Aybar pops out to Fraggle.
11:12 pm: Tinder flies out to Bay in foul ground.
11:15 pm: Ben Zobrist comes up just short of a Sweet Deal and the seventh ends with Mama Cass warming up in the background. Red Sox 4-2.
11:18 pm: Balfour walks Covelli. Chad Bradford comes on to provide the Former Athletics Boost.
Never trust a big butt and a sidearm.
11:23 pm: Chad Bradford actually throws sidearm to first as well. Talk about committing to a bit. One down and Papi gets a free pass to first base land.
11:26 pm: Buck Martinez just described the three pitches Chad Bradford throws to right-handers. What does he throw to lefties? Batting practice.
11:27 pm: 5-4-3 and the top of the eighth ends with the able-bodied assistance of the Former Athletics Boost.
11:30 pm: Hello and welcome back to Bottom of the Eighth. Your wild card this evening will be Justin Masterson. We will bring a wine menu around shortly.
11:33 pm: Masterson is nearly overrun by Secret Service men when he hits the President. Calm prevails and first base is occupied.
11:34 pm: The 1-0 trip to the mound by the pitching coach can never be good. The conversation consists of one sentence: "Throw a &@#&ing strike or I will end you."
11:36 pm: Strikes were thrown. Iwamura is out. Upton is not. Yet.
11:38 pm: Now Justin refuses to throw anything but strikes. That pitching coach is a genius. Upton pops out impotently and two are down. The Bear cometh.
11:40 pm: Peña's out and a certain pitching coach may be getting a MacArthur Grant next year. End of eight. Red Sox 4-2.
11:44 pm: J.D. Drew can't wait to get back to the bench to see the UFC 89 replay. One down.
11:45 pm: Jason Bay just realized J.D. Drew's totally watching UFC 89 and rushed back himself. Trever Miller comes in for Former Athletics Boost and the Mark Kotsay stain removal.
11:48 pm: Mark Kotsay pops out on the first pitch because Jason's TOTALLY going to steal his seat near the guac in the clubhouse. Now we're off to the bottom of the ninth.
11:50 pm: Welcome, Papelbon. Shall we dance?
11:52 pm: And the TBS crew just stopped listing all the reasons the Rays should just give up and weep openly instead of taking on the Great and Powerful Papelbon.
11:53 pm: Oops. Now they're done.
11:53 pm: Longoria grounds to shortstop. GREAT AND POWERFUL PAPELBON.
11:55 pm: Matt Garza is chewing a live squirrel.
11:55 pm: Upton strikes out. GREAT AND POWERFUL PAPELBON.
11:57 pm: Fraggle grabs the liner off the Bear's bat and sends us from penultimate to ultimate tomorrow night.
This game had something of the fait accompli on it once the Red Sox went up for reasons utterly unrelated to the quality of the Rays squad. The storyline seems to dictate a miracle comeback by the Red Sox (cheapening both the Rays' season thus far and the word "miracle").
Frankly, we expected the Rays to win tonight and expect them to win tomorrow. They're the better team at home. Bless Jon Lester Who Once Had Cancer, but this has all been only to benefit TBS' advertisers and Steve Harvey's syndication checks.
Unless, of course, we're wrong. That's happened before.
(P.S. We're betting Rob and Cee to the Tee Cee find a way to celebrate the occasion around here tomorrow night. Check in tomorrow, won't you? Good evening.)