|© 2004 MLB Advanced Media, L.P. All rights reserved.|
Sox shrug off rough play in field10/25/2004 12:30 AM ET
By Jim Street / MLB.com
BOSTON -- The Red Sox are defying logic in the World Series.
Conventional wisdom says a team that bobbles baseballs blows its chance of becoming champions, and after committing four errors in their Game 1 victory over the Cardinals on Saturday night, the Red Sox agreed they had to play better defense to win three more games.
What an idiotic way to think.
The American League champs made four more errors in Game 2 Sunday night and cruised to a 6-2 victory over the National League champion Cardinals before 35,001 at Fenway Park.
The Red Sox are the first team in World Series history to commit eight errors in the first two games, but that's only half the story. They also have a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series that moves to St. Louis for the next two -- or three -- games.
What in the name of Stephen King is going on here?
A team that calls itself a "bunch of idiots" finds itself two victories away from the organization's first World Series title since 1918.
"We try to eliminate the thinking, and we've tried to let our natural abilities take over," center fielder Johnny Damon said. "So I think that's why the phrase about 'the idiots' kind of took off. We don't think. If we use our brains, we're only hurting the team."
Errors also are supposed to hurt a team, but the Red Sox are showing remarkable resiliency. The four miscues in Game 1 led to six Cardinals runs, but Boston won 11-9. The four errors in Game 2 forced right-hander Curt Schilling to throw a few more pitches than he should have but produced just one unearned run for the Cardinals.
"You know what?" Damon said. "If it takes making four errors to win Game 3, we'll do it."
It should be pointed out that prior to this Series, the last time a team made four errors in one World Series game was the Brewers, in 1982 against the Cardinals. St. Louis won, 13-1.
"We threw the ball away in some plays and didn't catch a couple of balls," manager Terry Francona said. "It's almost snowing out there and [the errors] didn't affect the outcome of the game, which I am thankful for. I would rather not make four errors."
Third baseman Bill Mueller tied a World Series record with three errors. He was charged with an error when he collided with catcher Jason Varitek, who was in position to catch Jim Edmonds' popup in foul territory leading off the second inning.
Not a problem. Edmonds grounded out on the next pitch.
Mueller bobbled a chopper hit by Reggie Sanders with two outs in the fourth inning, allowing Albert Pujols to score from third base, and the Sox third-sacker mishandled a grounder hit by Scott Rolen with two outs in the sixth, becoming the third, third baseman to go bobble-bobble-bobble in the same game.
Buck Herzog (New York Giants in 1911) and Pepper Martin (Cardinals in 1934) are the others in the misplay club.
Boston made its final error of the game in the sixth inning, when second baseman Mark Bellhorn mishandled Edmonds grounder.
After the second error, which threatened to cut into a five-run lead, Mueller and Schilling met on the mound.
"I told Billy I was going to get the next out," Schilling said. "I mean, you can't understand unless you are in that clubhouse. I care more about these 24 guys than anybody I've ever played with. Very few times on the mound do you get a chance to pick up the guys playing behind you, and there was my chance to do that.
"I wanted that to happen so bad."
Schilling retired Tony Womack on a grounder up the middle that ended the inning and potential Cardinals comeback.
First baseman Kevin Millar said the elements had a lot to do with the shoddy defense.
"This is a tough playing surface right now," he said. "Some of those balls hit to Billy Mueller, he was just trying to knock down. It's tougher than it looks out there, but Curt picked us up big time."
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.