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‘Foulke’ heroes

Oct 26, 2004 6:35 AM


How good are the Boston Red Sox? Good enough to overcome the commission of four errors in each of Games 1 and 2 of the World Series and win both.

Of course, all the Sox did was to hold serve by winning both home games but that clearly places the pressure on the St. Louis Cardinals to take at least two of three games at home in order to return to Boston for at least a six game series.

One week ago it appeared that the New York Yankees would clearly represent the American League, holding a 3-1 lead over Boston in the ALCS. Boston then made history by winning Games 5 and 6 to force a Game 7. The Red Sox added an exclamation point to their historical comeback by winning the deciding contest on the road in Yankee Stadium.

Their improbable comeback continued with wins in the first two games of the World Series. Boston heads to St. Louis on a six game winning streak to face a Cardinals team that is unbeaten at Busch Stadium during the postseason.

St. Louis opened as a slight favorite in Game 3 with Jeff Suppan opposing Pedro Martinez. Suppan has been in excellent form in the playoffs with a 2.84 ERA in three starts during which he pitched 19 innings. He is also allowing less than a base runner per inning in those starts.

The Cardinals are almost a "must play" Tuesday if they are to have any hopes of staying in this series. Certainly the Cardinals are attractively priced and Martinez has been merely average in his three postseason starts.

After a high scoring start to the Series, in which 20 total runs were scored in the opener, the teams managed just eight last Sunday. The Total for Game 3 is 10, which is a fair line and gives no value to either the "over" or "under."

There should be value in the expected Game 4 matchup of Boston’s Derek Lowe against St. Louis right-hander Jason Marquis. Although Lowe has pitched well in spurts he still is prone to losing his composure at times. Lowe can be racked hard by this potent St. Louis lineup.

Marquis has really been below average since about midseason and has been roughed up in his recent outings. Even at a total of 11, there will be value in playing the "over."

Boston is halfway to the four wins needed to finally end that 86-year-old curse. The Red Sox last had the chance to erase the curse back in 1986. It would seem numerically appropriate that the Sox would finally "eighty six" that curse following their historical ALCS comeback. But nothing has ever come easy for those long suffering fans.

The Cardinals should win at least two of the three games at home, with Boston having a chance to wrap up the series this Saturday night in Game 6 barring rainouts. Boston Manager Terry Francona might well wish to hold back ace Curt Schilling for a concluding Game 7, assuming he is healthy. If the Sox face elimination, then Schilling would surely go in a Game 6.

How great would that be for this series to go the distance and for the Red Sox to finally rid their fans of the "curse" on Halloween!

That’s still the forecast here. We would back whichever team is down 3-2 in games heading into Game 6, before backing the Red Sox in a deciding Game 7.

Next week, we begin our coverage of the NBA season. Pro basketball tips off a week from this Tuesday on Election Day, Nov.2.