Wednesday, October 27, 2004

World Series Game 3

Final Score:

Boston Red Sox 4, St. Louis Cardinals 1

Pedro Martinez. Amazing. When it's all said and done, having Schilling and Pedro as your one-two punch is something really special. I've gotten to point where I just want the team to resign all of these guys so I can have just as much fun watching them again next year. Last night the Man went seven innings on no runs, three hits, two walks and six strikeouts. He had some trouble at the beginning of the game (detailed below), but once again, if that's the last time we see Pedro Martinez in a Red Sox uniform, it was incredible way to say goodbye. After getting in his groove, Pedro went on to retire fourteen straight batters and shut down the Big 4 (and the rest of the lineup) completely.

The only tough part of the game was at the beginning. A combination of an umpire with an inconsistent strikezone (for both sides) and Pedro's taking time to warm up to the warm (about 65 degree) mid-autumn air led to some trouble in the first two innings. But somehow, those breaks that NEVER come to the Red Sox came again, like they have almost all post-season. In the first, the bases were loaded with one out and Jim Edmonds hit a fly to shallow center. Larry Walker, who was on third, decided to tag and try to score. Without missing a beat, Manny threw a one-hopper right to Varitek, who decoyed Walker into thinking he wasn't getting the throw, drawing the Cardinal's rightfielder into coming down the basepath and tagged him out easily for the inning-ending double play.

In the third, the Cardinals had another opportunity - after Jeff Suppan poked a little infield hit down to third base and Edgar Renteria doubled (the last hit Pedro would give up all night)*, Walker came up with no outs to try and get something started. Todd smacks a grounder to Mark Bellhorn, who like the rest of the infield was playing back to get the out, even though it meant giving up the run. Bellhorn tosses to Ortiz (who played excellently, by the way, much to my glee), who tags first...and discovers that, for some reason, Jeff Suppan has frozen on the base path to home. By the time he gets the presence of mind to flee back to third, Ortiz has thrown to Mueller, who tags him out. Pujols grounds out to end the inning and Pedro settles into his groove. The Cardinals don't score until the ninth, when Walker smacks a Keith Foulke pitch into left-center for a solo homerun before St. Louis goes quietly into the night.

On the offensive side, Manny seems to be finally breaking out, going 2 for 4 with a walk, two RBIs and a homerun, which came in the first, after Robin made a comment about Manny being due. After a particularly agregious low strike call, Manny got annoyed enough to say something to the umpire, then hit a shot into the second deck in left field. Robin and I both feel he got so mad at the umpire that he decided to hit one out just to prove a point. Overall, there were nine Boston hits, including three doubles, more than enough to knock out Suppan in the fifth and add a few runs to the total.** Not a massive effort, but there weren't any errors either. And the Sox beat the Cardinals in St. Louis, doing what Los Angeles and Houston had failed to do. I'm psyched.

Who am I kidding? I'm wired. I've been bouncing around all day, especially this morning when I didn't have other things to distract me. I really don't want to think about what happens after tonight, or even what happens tonight, because if the best happens...I have NO IDEA how I'll react. Hell, I have no idea how Boston will react if the Sox win. It's possible that the entire city may just sink into the ocean, leaving the rest of Red Sox Nation to wander the lands of the Earth like some sort of lost Atlanteans.

I can't believe I just wrote that. Clearly I'm a bit unhinged just thinking about it, so on to what's actually happening tonight: Derek Lowe is going up against Jason Marquis in game 4 tonight. Lowe, who was not originally on the post-season rotation, has won the ALDS and ALCS for the Red Sox and will be trying to win for them again tonight. I have no other commentary. GO SOX!!!

* - I have some serious beef with the grounds crew at Busch Stadium because of this play, even though all turned out for the best. It rained in St. Louis yesterday and even though there were tarps on the field, there were sizable puddles on the warning track in right. And by sizable puddles, I mean it resembled a swamp. Heck, even Walker, who plays there normally, was being careful. When Nixon went after that Renteria double, which hit off the wall, he slipped on one of those puddles and fell flat on his back. Yes, the man with the disc and quad problems FELL ON HIS BACK. Yeah, there was a good deal of yelling at the TV about that one. Fortunately, he seemed to be ok for the rest of the day and I haven't seen anything about his being injured by the fall, but this was clearly something that could have been prevented had the grounds crew done their job and vacuumed up the water or something like that. The Fenway groundskeeper apologized to Tony Womack by way of Tony LaRussa for the field conditions that may or may not have led to Womack getting clocked by the Ortiz grounder in Game would be nice if the Busch groundskeeper could be as classy.
** - Robin and I tried something new tonight, although it really only worked well with Bill Mueller - we gave everyone theme songs. Varitek got a Fifth of Beethoven, Mueller got Eye of the Tiger...all adapted to fit their names and what we wanted them to do. And my coworkers want a seven game series...clearly the ALCS made Robin and I crazy enough.