Feel free to come back and catch an ALCS game from the stands, Joe!

Wow, do I hate the Rays. Everything about the franchise: the players, the manager, the stadium, the official Twitter account, everything.

So with our hated foes vanquished and a couple of days for us to rest (yes the players and the fans) and enjoy some decisive Division Series game 5’s that our team isn’t involved in, let’s look back at some unforgettable moments from the American League Division Series.

Xander Bogaerts takes two walks, scores two runs in Game 4

For some reason this is not an embeddable clip, maybe because MLB isn’t as obsessed with Xander as we all are, and they fail to see just how big these walks and runs were for the 21-year old. So, click the link and allow your mind to picture a future with a smooth-fielding shortstop that hits for power and has the ability to post an OBP near .400.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia‘s diving catch in Game 3 

There are definitely some things that I would like to forget from Game 3, but Salty’s diving catch on a foul ball is not one of them. This is just one play, but it was a reminder of how much he has improved defensively over his career and this season.

 Craig Breslow mows down the heart of the Rays order in Game 4

Breslow came in with two outs in the bottom of the sixth with Boston trailing 1-0, and struck out James Loney to keep the deficit at one run. After the Red Sox took a 2-1 lead in the top of the seventh, Craig came back out to the mound and struck out the heart of the Tampa Bay order, Evan LongoriaBen Zobrist, and Desmond Jennings. After coming into the post-season with some questions of how they would bridge the gap from the starters to the closer, Breslow and Junichi Tazawa both provided solid answers. In seven appearances the duo combined for 6 IP, 3 H, 6 K, and only 1 BB.

John Lackey strikes out Zobrist to maintain the lead in Game 2

The Rays came into the top of the 5th inning trailing 5-1, but had already brought two runs across to cut the lead in half. After a walk to Longoria put the potential tying run on base, Zobrist stepped to the plate. Lackey struck him out looking, leading to an awesome burst of emotion for John and for Fenway.

 Jon Lester is dominant at Fenway in Game 1 

As much as any pitcher who has pitched for the Red Sox in my lifetime, we want to love Lester. He’s a prospect from our system, a World Series winner, a cancer survivor, and seemingly a really good guy. It was really hard to see him suffer through a 9-14, 4.82 ERA season last year. As solid as his regular season was (ERA down over a point, WAR over four times higher than last year’s), I didn’t feel like he was completely back until I saw him on the hill quieting the Rays’ bats in Game 1. He was, again, our ace. He certainly didn’t shut the Rays down completely (2 ER on 2 HR) but his 7 2/3 inning, 3 H, 7 K performance was more than enough to ensure the Sox of the first lead in the series.

Dustin Pedroia starts a huge, lead-perserving double play in Game 2

In the top of the 7th inning Boston was nursing a 2-run lead with two runners on base and only one out. Zobrist lined a ball to Pedroia, who corralled a difficult hop, spun around to find Stephen Uncle Dirt Drew at second, who finished the double play with a rope to Mike Napoli at first. It was, without a doubt, a game-changing defensive play. And don’t forget, just one inning later, Pedroia started another inning ending 4-6-3 double play to get the Sox and Tazawa out of the 8th.

 Wil Myers abandons a fly ball and opens the flood gates in Game 1 

Myers pulled the classic “I’ve got it, I’ve got it, you’ve got it!” move. With the Rays taking an early 2-0 lead and Matt Moore looking solid on the mound, Pedroia led off the 4th inning with a single to center. Ortiz followed up with a deep shot to right field that the rookie Myers located, started to settle under, and appeared ready to pull in before suddenly peeling of out of the way, letting the ball hit the warning track before it bounced over the wall for a ground rule double. Moore immediately came off the rails, allowing the next hitter, Jonny Gomes, to double off the wall scoring both Pedroia and Ortiz. The Sox went on to score five runs in the inning and never looked back. Tampa’s early 2-0 lead quickly turned into a resounding 12-2 loss.

I have a hunch that Wil will be hearing Myyyyyy-errrrrrs chants in Fenway for years to come.

David Ortiz takes Price deep twice in Game 2

In the regular season, David Price gave up two home runs to left-handed batters, and held lefties to a .489 OPS. In Game 2, Ortiz single-handedly matched the two home runs and posted an OPS of 1.694. Remember when Papi couldn’t hit lefties? Now he not only hits lefties, he hits the best of them, and he hits them far.

 Koji Uehara and the Sox celebrate the series win 

I don’t care how many of these I see, they will never, ever get old. In fact, two more this season just like this one would be a beautiful thing!