Thursday, October 14, 2004

ALCS Game 2

Final Score:

Boston Red Sox 1, New York Yankees 3

It was a big switcheroo - tonight the offense couldn't hit Lieber to save their lives and by the time he left in the eighth, it was basically too late. Pedro was once again quite excellent, having some problems in the first and then homerun to John Olerud in the 6th to give up three runs. I suppose you could second-guess the homerun situation until the sun comes up - Pedro was past 100 pitches, Francona could have brought in a reliever and the game might still be going on. Of course, the reliever could have broken it open too. In any case, the Sox are headed back to Boston down 2 - 0 against a team that doesn't relinquish 2 - 0 leads in the post-season. The only saving grace on that score is that the Yankees are still a .500 ballclub on the road and that may help the Sox in the next three games...until the series heads back to New York.

And now, the bad news. First, El Duque, whose arm had been bothering him, will now most likely go up against Bronson Arroyo in game 4, instead of the much more hittable Javier Vasquez. While it's true that Hernandez's only loss this year came against the Sox, it doesn't make me feel much better about the whole thing. Second and probably much more important, the real reason Schilling blew his start last night: the sheath around his ankle tendons tore off and the tendons are now rubbing against the bone every time he moves the ankle. Funny, the "who's your daddy" chants don't sound too convincing when you realize the guy was pitching with an injury so bad that it will require surgery to fix...and that he last three innings. Just thought I'd toss that out there. So, anyway, an ankle specialist from Mass. General is working on a brace for Schilling to wear to see if it will stabilize the ankle enough for him to push off of and be able to pitch. They'll try it out tomorrow - if it doesn't work, Schilling's gone for the rest of the season. Boom, just like that, your best starter is gone.

In truth, it's stuff like this Schilling ankle thing that make me think Curse. I mean, how the hell does this happen to a team consistently? Oh, you'll be favored to win the playoffs...or you would be, but your ace just blew out his ankle. Good luck, guys. Meanwhile, we'll give the Yankees a few lucky breaks and an excellent start in game one and an even better start in game two. And you wonder why I wasn't a huge fan of having to play New York in the ALCS. On the flip side, Nikki and I had an interesting conversation last night at the bar where she gave her analysis of the psychology of the Red Sox in the post-season. Basically, her point was that because of the attitude in Boston (and amongst Red Sox fans in general) about the New York Yankees, the players psych themselves out each time they play New York...especially in the post season. The Curse, the rivalry, etc. all combine to pressure the Red Sox to try and do things they don't need to do and thus they make mistakes and bad things happen. It makes me think that the Sox could easily defeat anyone else in the post-season (especially with this team) because no other team has the amount of psychological baggage associated with it the way the Yankees do.

Speaking of that baggage, I've decided I'm not watching Fox for the rest of this series. They do their best to drag every little bit of sensationalism out the event, they do their best to magnify every stupid taunt from the crowd, I hate the shows they promote on their commercials, I hate the commercials themselves and of course, my longstanding hate of Joe Buck and Tim McCarver remains unchanged. Quite frankly, it ruins much of my enjoyment of the game, because I feel like I'm fighting a battle with an entire television network and 55,000 Yankees fans. Thus, I will be sticking with WEEI and Joe and Jerry for the duration. Kevin Brown versus Bronson Arroyo (or as McCarver put it, Pedro Martinez versus Brandon Arroyo) on Friday at Fenway, assuming the skies don't open up and pour down floods like I've heard they're going to. GO SOX!!!