Tonight’s a big game, alright, sir. If we take it, I’d say the ALDS is fait accompli. Because I can’t imagine the Angels taking two at Fenway. Not saying it can’t be done. Just sayin’ it doesn’t seem likely. But it won’t be easy. The Angels have got to be out for blood, because they know, too, that it’s a last gasp kinda thing. And we’ve got Daisuke on the hill, and he can be really, really good, or really, really frustrating–there’s a reason the guy’s 18-3 but never gets mentioned in 2008 Cy Young discussions. Also, the Sox will be rolling without Scenic Lowell and Jed Lowrie in the line-up:

Mike Lowell’s hip injury did not worsen, but Terry Francona made what he said was a very difficult decision to sit him. Lowell wanted to play badly, Francona said. One factor in the decision was the fact that Joe Saunders, a lefty will start Game 3 on Sunday in Fenway Park, and Francona wanted to guarantee a healthy Lowell for that game.

Francona had an inkling he would start Alex Cora over Jed Lowrie tonight even before the series began. Francona preferred Cora over Lowrie even before he knew their stats against Ervin Santana. He felt Cora matched up better against the style of pitching employed by Santana than Lowrie. When Francona looked at the numbers that Cora is 2 for 3 against Santana with a double and a triple, it simply heightened his comfort with the move.

It’s playoff baseball on a Friday night. I’ve got eight pounds of barbecued ribs and a case of Pabst and about fifteen of those individually-wrapped Hostess Fruit Pies. So one false move from Matsuzaka will clearly land me on the wrong side of some defibrillation paddles.