|© 2004 MLB Advanced Media, L.P. All rights reserved.|
ALCS Game 6 Hot Sheet10/19/2004 9:32 AM ET
By Spencer Fordin / MLB.com
The American League Championship Series returns to Yankee Stadium, where the Yankees and Red Sox will play Game 6 at 8 p.m. ET tonight. Here is what people around the ALCS are talking about. 1. Whither Curt Schilling?
Boston's ace can thank Reebok for his Game 6 start, setting up a marketing tour de force should he pitch well enough to win. The right-hander will be wearing a high-top sneaker to stabilize his injured ankle, which limited him to three innings of work in Game 1. If he can't go any deeper this time, the Sox will be hard pressed to win. 2. 'Pens out of ink?
Both teams are absolutely hamstrung in the bullpen, dealing with massive overuse in the last two games. Both teams will have to go out-by-out and pitch-by-pitch, keeping a close eye on even their best relievers. Both closers -- Mariano Rivera and Keith Foulke -- are pitching on fumes after two games of multi-inning work. 3. History in the making?
No team in the history of the ALCS has forced a Game 7 after falling three games behind. The Red Sox can be the first, but they're more interested in becoming the first team to win a series after being down 0-3. After the last two nights -- filled with unlikely comebacks -- there's no reason to assume they can't do it.
4. Rain, rain, go away
Jon Lieber was absolutely dominant in his Game 2 start, allowing just three hits and one run in seven-plus innings of work. The Yankees need another effort just like that, and Lieber might be ideally suited to the task. He went 5-0 in his last six regular season starts and has pitched well in both postseason efforts. 6. All things must pass
Over the years, Joe Torre is a perfect 6-0 in six ALCS settings. Is this the year that all his good luck turns into something else? The Yankees have been tested and challenged in the last few years, but nothing compares to this Boston series in terms of raw emotion. Torre's resolve will be key, again, in what has been a charmed managerial life up to now. 7. Don't make any plans
Incredibly, these two teams have set the record for longest ALCS game on three consecutive nights. Game 5 even flirted with the six-hour barrier, an obscene amount of time for any given game. They've gone nine innings, 12 innings and 14 innings in succession? What's next? Seventeen innings and a bout with narcolepsy? 8. Track meet
Yes, Dave Roberts will come in late in the game as a pinch-runner. Yes, Roberts will attempt to steal and will likely be successful, moving into scoring position for a possibly crucial run. Yes, this strategy is entirely predictable and often unstoppable. The man is flat-out fast, and what's more, he has excellent base-stealing technique. 9. Home sweet home
Yankee Stadium has housed countless clinchers in the past, and the fans will be loud and into the game from the first pitch. The Sox used last licks to get each of their last two wins, and the Yanks will hope to take yet another late-inning lead. Mariano Rivera has two blown saves in two nights, but the second one was largely out of his hands. 10. Big man, big bat
Shut down David Ortiz, shut down the Sox. As good as Manny Ramirez is, Ortiz has walk-off hits in all of Boston's last three postseason wins. That's a mind-boggling run of late-game success, even for one of the best hitters in the game. Expect the Yanks to concentrate extra hard on Ortiz, which could create opportunities for someone else.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.