10/09/2003 12:13 AM ET
ALCS Game 1 game balls
MLB.com is awarding "game balls" -- or, in this case, red socks, like the lads from Boston wear, and taxis, in honor of the New York City traffic -- for performances in this year's American League Championship Series.
Five Socks: A perfect fit
By Paul C. Smith / MLB.com
Four Socks: Clean and comfortable
Three Socks: Has a couple of holes
Two Socks: Needs a washing
One Sock: Giving off a foul odor
Tim Wakefield: What is it about the wind currents in the Bronx? Does the breeze caused by the No. 4 train whisking past the stadium give the knuckler a boost? It must. Because Wakefield earned his third win in three tries at Yankee Stadium this season. The difference in Game 1, though, was that he did not walk anybody in the first six innings. Face it, there just wasn't much the Yankees could do while the Red Sox built an insurmountable lead.
Manny Ramirez: Forget about the pause at the plate in Oakland. When Boston's big bopper is hitting, everyone stops to admire his work.
David Ortiz: Ortiz may well be the league MVP as well as Boston's this season. He just keeps collecting big hits. On Wednesday night, his two-run homer to right on a 3-2 pitch from Mike Mussina gave the Red Sox a quick boost.
Todd Walker: Filling in for Johnny Damon as Boston's leadoff hitter, Walker certainly provided enough excitement. He had two hits, including the fifth-inning drive that was headed for the right-field fair pole before getting a hand from a young fan in the stands.
Scott Williamson: Thrust into the closing role for the Red Sox for the first time this season, all he did was set down the Yankees' 3-4-5 hitters in order in the ninth inning, two by strikeouts. The Reds know what he can do. Now the Red Sox and Yankees do, too.
Five cabs: VIP, police escort
Four cabs: Green lights, little traffic, life is good
Three cabs: Clean backseat, no accidents
Two cabs: Your driver takes "the scenic route"
One cab: Gridlock, 102 degrees in the city, no AC, missing window crank
Mike Mussina: Mussina just was not sharp. You knew he probably would not throw a shutout against that potent lineup. But giving up three long balls in two innings was definitely not in the classic Mussina script.
Yankees hitters: It took them way too long (the seventh inning) to figure out how to beat Tim Wakefield when he has a wicked knuckler. They have had a lot of success in the past forcing good pitchers to go deep in the count, leading either to walks or premature exits. The Yankees were just too aggressive early on in this one.
Nick Johnson: After a fairly dismal ALDS, the lefty first baseman went 0-for-3 and left three runners on base, two in scoring position. The Yankees need him to hit. He picked the wrong time to start struggling at the plate.
Paul C. Smith is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.