And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why you never, ever let the defending World Series champion off the mat.
Because if you let the champ climb off the canvas, all of the following (and more!) can happen when you lose Game Six ...
• You can give catcher Jason Varitek the chance to hit what will ultimately be the game-winning homer in the top of the sixth, getting his first hit in 15 ABs this series.
• You can allow Josh Beckett to earn his first '08 postseason victory, seeing him surrender only two runs while giving the Red Sox the five innings they needed to get to the Hideki Okajima-Justin Masterson-Jonathan Papelbon trio.
• You can see how little your homefield advantage means when the bottom of the ninth rolls around and Papelbon, who still has yet to surrender an earned run in his postseason career, comes trotting out of the left field bullpen. Same goes for the scoreless inning Masterson pitches (in which he looks just as intimidating as Papelbon).
• You can fail to hit like you did in your three wins, recording only four hits off Josh Beckett and then none off Boston's relievers over the final four innings.
• You can start to make uncharacteristic errors, like the throwing mistake Jason Bartlett made in the sixth inning, letting the Red Sox record an insurance run they wouldn't even need.
• You can look at Sunday's starting pitchers and see Jon Lester's name scribbled under 'Boston.' Like Varitek and Beckett, you're again giving him the chance to make good after his poor Game 3 start.
• You can begin to see why both the '04 Yankees and '07 Indians just chuckled when you said everything would be OK after that big Game 5 collapse, that it was just a momentary hiccup, that you would put it behind you, that you'd be better at home, that it'd all be OK.
But they knew, like most everyone knew, that a chance to put the champ down for good doesn't come along every day. And to put him down again?
Well, that's going to take a lot more work than you might have thought.