After getting past the Yankees, it was a boring ride, but Red Sox Nation is quite happy with the destination. Stop by the Hot Corner to read The Commish's take on the 2004 World Series Champions. Congratulations to the Boston Red Sox - the rest of the nation is thankful that we can stop hearing about the supposed "curse."
The Commish has been humbled, as I fully expected St. Louis to climb back into the series last night. Jeff Suppan did everything under his power to make sure that didn't happen. Larry Walker should have received an RBI in his second at bat against Martinez, tying the score 1-1 with just one out in the 3rd inning. Instead, Suppan was a deer in headlights during Walker's groundout, resulting in a strange double play, killing the rally and effectively killing the Cardinals in Game 3. Good bye, momentum.
Boston proved that 3-0 does not mean the end of the series, but it's not looking good in "Saint Louie." Derek Lowe pitches for Boston tonight, and while he's had a horrible year, he pitched well in a clinching Game 7 less than a week ago. Jason Marquis is the Cardinals' last hope, but their hitting, like Boston in the ALCS, can still make up for any deficiencies on the pitching end. Boston fans are hoping for the quick kill, but baseball fans
are hoping there will still be some baseball to be played in Boston.
Proof that you can't always rely on statistics and sometimes you have to actually watch the games and the players:
The Red Sox, who have had their way with St. Louis pitching in the first 2 games, face mediocre Jeff Suppan tonight. In his 10 year career, Suppan has amassed a 4.80 ERA in almost 1500 innings and a 78 - 84 record. Baseballreference.com compares Jeff Suppan to James Baldwin, Sterling Hitchcock, and Steve Trachsel among others. Pedro Martinez, facing the Cardinals tonight, enters the game with a 2.71 ERA and a record of 182 - 76 over 13 years. Martinez is compared to Sandy Koufax, Roger Clemens, and Lefty Grove. Pedro had slightly better numbers than Suppan in '04, and Suppan pitched horribly down the stretch, but has looked much better in his playoff outings.
Despite the overwhelming advantage to Boston in the stats, the Cardinals are FAVORED in tonight's game. Why? Because right now, at this very time, Jeff Suppan is throwing the ball better than Pedro Martinez, so all the historical stats mean nothing. You can study the numbers and break down all the trends, but the fact is anyone who has WATCHED these pitchers the past two weeks realizes tonight will be an even contest despite the numbers. I'm giving the edge to the Cardinals because they are at home and I believe Pujols and Walker will be able to solve Martinez by their second at bats, giving St. Louis an early lead.
If the ALCS has taught us anything, it's that a series is never over until the champagne is pouring in a locker room. St. Louis fans should be nervous, but hope should not be lost. Pedro Martinez has been vulnerable lately, and the Cardinals will wake up their bats in their friendly confines Tuesday evening. The Red Sox have simply outhit St. Louis, but they have yet to play a solid game on both sides (8 errors in the first 2 games). Continued sloppy play will lead to a long series, but if Boston plays well and gets the pitching they need, it could be short and sweet.
My prediction: Suppan pitches well enough to win, the Cardinals hit Pedro hard and the Redbirds climb back into the Series.
As predicted here, the St. Louis Cardinals "held serve" thanks to some timely hitting against a tiring Roger Clemens, and will be meeting the Red Sox in the October Classic beginning Saturday. TCO's World Series Preview will be available later today.
While the Boston comeback was anti-climactic, but ultimately satisfying for New Englanders, Houston was an extra hit away from having Roger Clemens available to pitch in Game 1 of the World Series in Fenway. Home field has been the difference in the NLCS, however, and the Astros will try to buck that trend tonight, as Clemens takes the mound against Jeff Suppan and the Cardinals.
It's hard to bet against Clemens in a Game 7, but as I mentioned in the NLCS Preview, the Cardinals will use the home field to their advantage and schedule a meeting with Boston for Saturday. Unfortunately for the Cardinals, the very pitcher they have to beat tonight is the one who cost the National League home field advantage in the World Series (thanks to a subpar outing in the All-Star Game). When Boston is celebrating a championship in Fenway, at least St. Louis will know who to blame.