Friday, October 10, 2003

I walk into the office this morning and the message light is flashing on my phone. I check the messages to discover that it's our CEO. She had called just after five, and said that she had a question if I was still there. If not, I should call her back the next morning. Cursing myself slightly for actually leaving at 5 (I had J.'s open house at school last night), I called her back. I got the CEO's assistant, who said she wasn't in yet, but she would let her know that I called.

About 15 minutes later she calls back and asks me, "I was wondering if you'd like to go to the game Sunday night?" After I regained my voice, I said "yes" and thanked her profusely. When I went up to get the tickets, she told me that several of my co-workers had told her that if she got playoff tickets that she should give them to me first. It's nice to know that people were thinking of me.

So, I'll be going to Game 4 of the ALCS. The pitching matchup is scheduled to be David Wells for the Empire against John Burkett. Should be a decent game if Burkett can avoid his first inning woes. I'll be sitting in the left field grandstand, so the view should be pretty decent, too.

This will be my third playoff game. The first two were Game 4's as well, both against Cleveland in 1998 and 1999. The first game was in 1998 when Jimy Williams decided to pitch Pete Schourek instead of going with Pedro on short rest. Schourek pitched great, going five scoreless innings, but the Sox lost the game and the series when David Justice drove in the winning run off Tom Gordon. I've never heard Fenway, and the walk back to the subway, so silent as it was after that game.

The second game was in 1999, and that had a much better result. The Sox clubbed Bartolo Colon, who was going on short rest and won the game 23-7. Of course, Boston went on to win the series in five games, as Pedro made his memorable relief appearance in the finale.

Naturally, I'll have lots on my first live ALCS experience in Monday night's blog entry.

A couple of thoughts on game 2. As I mentioned in yesterday's entry, the Red Sox really lost that game when they didn't take advantage of Pettite's shakiness in the first two innings. Lowe didn't pitch badly, but he's obviously tired after pitching three times in the Oakland series. I think four days of regular rest will do him some good and he'll come back strong in game 6.

Of course, the questions of the day were "Why did Grady play Damian Jackson instead of Todd Walker?" and "Why did Grady pitch Scott Sauerbeck in the 7th?". I can't explain the first question. Walker's been so hot with the bat I'd be willing to sacrifice a bit of defense for him. After all, it's not like Jackson plays the position like a gold glover.

As far as Sauerbeck's first appearance in 11 days, here's my thought. With the Sox behind I think Grady wanted to give the most reliable members of his bullpen (Timlin, Embree and Williamson) the night off. With the off-day today that would mean two full days of rest for these guys. The Sox are certainly going to need them as the series goes on, so I don't think it's necessarily a bad thing.


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