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Dodgers must try to get even
10/05/2004 8:06 PM ET
ST. LOUIS -- Game 1 of the National League Division Series on Tuesday was Dodgers manager Jim Tracy's first postseason experience, but he's got the Game 2 approach down pat.

The Cardinals posted a decisive 8-3 victory over his Dodgers with a five-homer performance in front of a red sea of 52,000-plus at Busch Stadium, but Tracy knows there's always tomorrow -- or day after tomorrow, in this case.

When the Dodgers hit the field Thursday for Game 2, they won't be going in worrying about Game 1.

"Our momentum can be re-created beginning on Thursday when Jeff Weaver goes out there," Tracy said, referring to his Game 2 starter. "I just really feel that if we get adequate starting pitching, we have a good chance to hang in the series for quite a while and possibly win it.

"Being down one game is not something to feel distraught over or think that you can't come back and win the series. It's the first team to three that wins, and however you go about doing that, it doesn't matter. You just have to get to three before the other guy does."

In Thursday's 8:09 p.m. ET start for Game 2, Tracy will send right-hander Weaver to the mound to try to get the Dodgers moving in the right direction. Weaver (13-13, 4.01) will be matched against right-hander Jason Marquis (15-7, 3.71), who brings nine regular-season home wins this year into the start.

No doubt, Game 1 was one game. But it was a big one for the Cardinals, who brushed aside any notions that they might have lost some steam after they clinched the NL Central back on Sept. 20.

Five homers, accompanied by five curtain calls by rabid Redbirds fans, will do plenty to get the momentum going in your favor.

Thing is, Cards manager Tony La Russa didn't really think the Cardinals ever lost any momentum. There was no switch to be turned on, even if the Cards lit up the sky with powerful fireworks in Game 1.

"I think part of why we got going was because we didn't really turn it off," La Russa said. "We've talked about it. I repeated it a few times and I'll repeat myself again. If you're tired, you're hurt, you don't play good."

Now, the Cardinals are healthy, the lineup is intact and on Tuesday they played like the type of team that can win 105 games in a season, not the team that lost five of the last seven games of the regular season.

"I never once doubted my teammates or what they could do when it was time to show up," said Game 1 winner Woody Williams.

   Jason Marquis  /   P
Born: 08/21/78
Height: 6'1"
Weight: 210 lbs
Bats: L / Throws: R

Said La Russa: "We weren't starting from scratch."

Neither were the Dodgers, who brought tremendous momentum into the series after clinching the NL West on the second-to-last day of the regular season with their club-record 53rd comeback win.

It'll take another comeback of a much higher caliber to overtake the Cardinals, that's for sure.

Just getting a game off them at home is a big challenge. The Cardinals are now 7-1 in Division Series play at Busch Stadium, having won all three of their home Division Series openers.

The two teams get a workout day Wednesday to get ready for Game 2. That's good news for the Cardinals, who will get a day of rest for their three bullpen stalwarts -- lefties Steve Kline and Ray King, and closer Jason Isringhausen. They all pitched Tuesday, but they should be fresh for Thursday.

Asked if he thought the layoff might be difficult after the Cardinals had regained so much momentum, La Russa said, "There isn't anything in the postseason that's difficult -- not flying all night, nothing. Everybody's just so excited to be in it. It's the same for both of us."

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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