Sunday, October 24, 2004: It is far better to win ugly than it is to lose pretty. This is a good thing, because last night we won ugly. It was probably a fun game for the disinterested fan to watch – 11-9 games usually are. And it was good for Sox fans to see the guys face some adversity and continue to put the pressure on the cards. Every time they scored to make it close or tie it up, we put runs on the board. It must have been frustrating for cardinals’ fans. One thing is for sure – neither of these lineups will give pitchers much breathing room. To win this thing, we have to expect a lot of 11-9-type games.

I watched the first Red Sox World Series game in 18 years with my buddy Tom at a hotel in Nashville. Just a handful of hours after the Sox beat the Yankees, after two hours of sleep, I had to get up and catch a plane to Nashville for a conference at Tennessee Tech in Cookeville, some 80 miles west of Music City. Just a few hours after last night’s win, on three hours of sleep I had to get up for an early flight back.
Given the gravity of the game and the fact that we kept letting the Cardinals get back into it, I was remarkably sane throughout. The Yankees’ series probably inured me to the fear of losing the first game, at least to some degree, though I must admit there were a few occasions last night when I wondered if we had not left something back in the Bronx. But we got the win, even if Waker did not pitch well, even if the defense fell apart, even if Manny made not only two fielding errors within moments of one another in the 8th inning but also made a baserunning gaffe that almost cost us, even if we gave up leads of 4-0, 7-2, and 9-7. (Rob did use the Thunderstick in the 8th, too, which means he kept his streak alive).
Game two is tonight. Schilling will take the mound with his jerry-rigged ankle. If he can resemble the guy who pitched last week, or is anything close to his regular season performance, we should be in great shape. The Cardinals simply do not have a number one starter who strikes fear into anyone’s heart. They have serviceable pitchers. Woody Williams saw last night what happens to serviceable pitchers against the Red Sox. Matt Morris has never scared me. And while the Jeff Suppan storyline will be one that Fox surely plays up, whatever chip he has on his shoulder from being left off of last year’s playoff roster is not going to change the fact that he has to try to get our hitters out consistently while facing off against Pedro.
Tonight’s is a big game, because St. Louis is tough at home, we are weaker on the road (though the Yankees might wonder about that) and getting a jump on a team in a short series is always preferable. A strong outing from Schilling and a cleaner style of baseball, with fewer errors and dumb mistakes should get us that second win. Three more to go . . .

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