Wednesday, October 6, 2004: 9-3. In game one of the 2004 playoffs, the red Sox beat the Angels 9-3. Those are the facts, the ones that matter. Schilling gave us 6 and 2/3 innings in which he gave up 3 runs. This was not really vintage Curt, save for the fact that he was staked to an early lead and he got it done. He is now 6-1 with a 1.74 earned run average in the postseason, and this is why we got him.

One win down, ten to go, and we have Pedro on the mound tonight. It would be easy to get cocky, to talk about impending titles, to think about how our pitching staff will line up against the MFY’s (or, more likely right now, the Twins, who beat the Yanks last night 2-0 behind Johan Santana). But reality comes easily to Sox fans, so I’ll be the momentary fly in the ointment: When the Angels won the World Series in 2002 they lost every single game one in the postseason. The Yankees have lost something like eight of their last thirteen playoff openers. Last year we were down the first two games to the A’s before we rallied to take the last there and seemingly seal our team of destiny status.

But the fact is, one game is just that: one game. One wonderful incredible game in which we did the things that the Angels were supposed to be best at — a little small ball, such as Minky’s drop dead perfect bunt for a single down the third base line that scored an eighth inning insurance run; some stellar fielding, and not just from the usual suspects, but from, of all people, Kevin Millar who made a couple of great plays, including a breathtaking diving stop to rob a hit. But they also brought out the whoopin’ sticks, with Manny and Millar smacking taters to put us in the driver’s seat for not only the game but also the series.

Don’t get me wrong. I was absolutely elated with their performance yesterday, if only because it allowed me to breathe freely for the first time all day. And it was made all the better by the Yankees’ loss, though in all honesty I do not much care what goes on in that series. A huge part of me knows that the perfect scenario would be to beat them in the ALCS, but seeing them lose is always a pleasure, and in any case, if it requires us beating the twins to go the distance, then so be it. If the Yankees cannot get by the twins, it will not lessen the experience for me one bit, and for reasons personal, beating the twins would be great as well.

But as I said, such speculations are for the future. For now, we have a huge game tonight. Pedro needs to show flashes of the Pedro of old, or at least of the Pedro of August. If he is on tonight, we have the 1-2 punch that we have dreamed about since November. I have faith that he will do it. I have faith that when I go to bed tonight we’ll be up two games to none. I have faith that Pedro will shut them down and the bats will knock them out. Schill did his job last night (and to make it all the more sweet, he even went on Sons of Sam Horn and started the game thread yesterday, and since he led us to the win, he followed tradition and started it again today) and now it is Pedro’s turn. It would be fantastic for him to prove to us that we do not have the best 1-2 punch in the league, but that rather we have the best 1-1a punch in the league.
One win down. Ten to go. This is the year.

Print  •  Email