SERIES: World Series; Boston leads 1-0.
Curt Schilling will try to follow up on an inspiring effort in Game 6 of the American League championship series as he leads the Boston Red Sox against the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 2 of the World Series.
“Don’t kid yourself, I’m terrified. That’s part of the motivation, the fear of failure,” Schilling said on Saturday, just hours before Mark Bellhorn’s two-run home run in the eighth inning gave the Red Sox an 11-9 win in the opener.
Despite winning 21 games this season, his first in Boston after being acquired from Arizona in the offseason, Schilling pitched in pain all year due to a dislocated right ankle tendon. He made the injury worse during the division series against Anaheim and then had a disastrous start in Game 1 of the ALCS against the New York Yankees on Oct. 12.
The Yankees knocked him around for six runs and six hits over just three innings in a 10-7 defeat. Usually topping out in the high 90s on the radar gun, Schilling was clearly limited by the ankle as he rarely broke 90 mph due to the lack of power coming from his right leg.
Many figured he and the Red Sox were done for the series, especially after Boston dropped the next two games and was in danger of being swept on its home field.
However, the Red Sox battled back to win Games 4 and 5 at Fenway Park, setting the stage for Schilling to take the mound again at Yankee Stadium in Game 6 on Tuesday. With his ankle tendon sutured temporarily into place by stitching the skin to the deep tissue below it, Schilling went out and dazzled the Yankees, throwing seven innings of one-run, four-hit ball in the Red Sox’s 4-2 win.
Red Sox manager Terry Francona said Schilling’s performance wasn’t that surprising because he knew what kind of player he was getting when general manager Theo Epstein traded for him.
“I’ve known Schill long enough that I expect him to pitch. That’s why he’s here,” Francona said. “That’s why we wanted him so badly because he’ll be a good pitcher through thick and thin. He’s a competitor, he’s good, that’s why he came here and he wants to fulfill that, and he will.”
Boston went on to become the only team in baseball history to win a series after losing the first three games, taking Game 7 on Wednesday 10-3.
Schilling said after his Game 1 disaster he figured he wouldn’t pitch again in the playoffs, but after consulting with team medical director Dr. Bill Morgan, they decided to perform a procedure which would allow him to perform at a higher level. Schilling said once he knew he could pitch again, he’d go out there and do what he could with no excuses.
“These are times in your life, and not just baseball, but no one believes it’s possible but you,” Schilling said. “When you succeed and you come through in moments like this, no one can ever question what you’re made of.”
Schilling had a similar procedure performed on the ankle again on Saturday and will now take the mound with the opportunity to put the Red Sox up 2-0 as they try to win their first world championship since 1918.
“Having watched Roger throw against them the other night, trying to get some feel for how he did it to them or what he did that worked and what didn’t work, I’ll use,” Schilling said. “I did a lot yesterday and will continue to do it tonight, and just finalize what I feel like is the game plan I need to go out and execute to beat them.
“It’s not going to be an easy task. This is probably the best lineup I’ve seen all year and probably the best lineup I’ve seen since the 2001 World Series.”
Opposing Schilling will be St. Louis ace Matt Morris, who will be pitching on three days’ rest.
“I think the last time I pitched on short rest was a whiffle ball game when I was 10,” Morris said. “There’s nothing to rest for; this is the whole point. It’s all or nothing right now. I’m not saving myself for anything. I don’t know what to expect but I expect that I’m going to go out and make pitches. My body doesn’t know at this point what short rest is.”
But Morris is well aware of what the Red Sox are capable of.
“They are dangerous, one through nine they have guys that can hit for average, hit for power,” Morris said. “They have guys that can do it all. It’s no different. Houston had a great lineup. We’ve had a tough division series and a tough NLCS, and, you know, we’re not expecting this to be any different.”
Fueled by David Ortiz’s three-run homer in the first, the Red Sox built a 7-2 lead through three innings in Game 1. However, the Cardinals stormed back behind Larry Walker’s four hits to tie the game at 7 after six.
Boston grabbed a 9-7 lead in the seventh on run-scoring singles by Ortiz and Manny Ramirez, but Ramirez almost singlehandedly gave the lead away in the eighth as he committed two errors in left field that led to two runs for St. Louis.
Bellhorn’s blast in the eighth of Julian Tavarez capped off the highest-scoring Game 1 in World Series history.
“You make good pitches and get outs. You open the door, however you open it, and guys are going to score,” St. Louis manager Tony La Russa said.
HOW THEY GOT HERE: Cardinals - NL Central champions; beat Los Angeles Dodgers 3-1, division series; beat Houston 4-3, NL championship series. Red Sox - Wild-card winner; beat Anaheim 3-0, division series; beat New York 4-3, AL championship series.
PROJECTED LINEUPS: Cardinals - 2B Tony Womack (.307 avg., 5 HRs, 38 RBIs, 26 SBs), RF Walker (.298, 17, 47 in 258 at-bats with Colorado and St. Louis), 1B Albert Pujols (.331, 46, 123, 51 2Bs, 133 runs), 3B Rolen (.314, 34, 124), CF Jim Edmonds (.301, 42, 111, 38 2Bs), 2B Edgar Renteria (.287, 10, 72, 17 SBs), LF Reggie Sanders (.260, 22, 67, 21 SBs) or So Taguchi (.291, 3, 25), C Mike Matheny (.247, 5, 50), DH John Mabry (.296, 13, 40). Red Sox - CF Johnny Damon (.304, 20 HRs, 94 RBIs, 123 runs, 19 SBs), 2B Bellhorn (.264, 17, 82, 177 Ks), LF Ramirez (.308, 43, 130), DH Ortiz (.301, 41, 139), 1B Kevin Millar (.297, 18, 74), RF Trot Nixon (.315, 6, 23), C Jason Varitek (.296, 18, 73), SS Orlando Cabrera (.294, 6, 31), 3B Bill Mueller (.283, 12, 57).
CARDINALS PROBABLE STARTING PITCHER: Morris (0-1, 5.29 ERA). Making his first career World Series start, Morris went five innings in Games 2 and 6 of the NLCS against Houston, with the Cardinals winning each game 6-4. The 30-year-old right-hander allowed three earned runs in each start and 11 hits total with eight walks and six strikeouts. Morris, who has given up five home runs in 17 innings this postseason, is 1-4 with a 3.75 ERA in 12 career playoff appearances, including eight starts. He has never faced the Red Sox.
RED SOX PROBABLE STARTING PITCHER: Schilling (2-1, 4.86 ERA). The hard-throwing right-hander is 2-1 with a 2.45 ERA in five career World Series starts. He went 1-1 with a 3.52 ERA in two starts for Philadelphia in a six-game loss to Toronto in 1993, and was 1-0 with a 1.69 ERA in three starts for Arizona in its seven-game win over the Yankees in 2001. Schilling has given up 25 hits, including four home runs, and struck out 35 in 36 2-3 career World Series innings. Schilling is 7-2 with a 2.17 ERA in 14 career postseason starts.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Cardinals - 2B Womack was knocked out of Game 1 in the seventh inning by DH Ortiz’s hard grounder that bounced up and hit him in the left collarbone, leaving him doubled over in pain. He grimaced as trainer Barry Weinberg checked on him for a few minutes on the field before walking off for precautionary X-rays, which came back negative. Marlon Anderson went in for Womack, who could be available Sunday. … LF Edmonds is batting .625 (5-for-8) with two homers and six RBIs in his career against RHP Schilling. … C Matheny’s two sacrifice flies on Saturday tied the Series record set by Wes Westrum in 1954 for the New York Giants. Red Sox - Ortiz, the MVP of the ALCS, became 28th player to homer in his first Series at-bat, the first since Anaheim’s Troy Glaus in 1992 and the first Boston player since pitcher Jose Santiago in 1967. … Schilling is 5-9 with a 4.58 ERA in 22 career appearances, including 19 starts, against the Cardinals. … SS Cabrera, who played for more than six seasons with Montreal before being traded at the deadline to Boston, is a career .389 hitter (7-for-18) with one homer and three RBIs against RHP Morris.
POSTSEASON ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Cardinals - 1-5 on the road. Red Sox - 4-1 at home.