How many times has it happened this way? The bats explode – even Wily Mo getting in on the fun – and the Sox hand out a behind-the-woodshed beating. And you sit there, surrounded by empty Dorito bags and Strohs bottles thinking: they might need a few of those runs later. Sure enough, they would have needed them all – and then some – in the nightcap. 18 hits in game 1 to support number 18, 3 hits in the second game.

In this case, the answer is obvious: Anthony Lerew and half the bullpen pitched game 1, John Smoltz in game 2. End of story. All eyes were on Smoltz in his first appearance since dislocating his pinkie finger making a tag. If he couldn’t give a quality outing, the Braves were going to have to throw Homer the mascot to the hill to get a few innings in. Seven strong innings later Smoltz exited with an 11-0 lead to let the bullpen mop up the last two innings.

“I’d hate to see him with all of his fingers,” Francona said.

Today we get the rubber game and another potential mismatch: Tim Hudson versus Kason Gabbard. The boys better be swinging the big bats today.