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10/19/07 6:35 PM ET

Missed chance doesn't faze Indians

Club's return to Fenway Park for Game 6 met with confidence

BOSTON -- The Indians didn't pack their bags for Boston on Thursday.

To do so would have been to accept the possibility of defeat in Game 5 of the American League Championship Series. And that's a possibility the Indians didn't want to think about on the day of a potential clinch.

"We weren't going to the ballpark expecting to lose," manager Eric Wedge said. "We were going to go to the ballpark expecting to win."

Well, we know how that turned out.

Looking to vault themselves into the World Series for the first time in a decade, the Indians instead found themselves booking a flight to Beantown after a 7-1 loss to the Red Sox, with Josh Beckett playing the part of their travel agent.

When Friday dawned, the members of the Tribe reported back to Jacobs Field, loaded up their gear and boarded an afternoon charter jet.

Upon arrival, reporters asked Wedge the inevitable: What is the mood of a club that didn't expect to come back to Fenway Park for a Game 6 matchup between Fausto Carmona and Curt Schilling?

The answer was just as inevitable.

"We're fine," said Wedge, who did not have his players work out at the park on Friday. "You know, we just had an off night [Thursday]. It's one game, and it's over. Like I said [Thursday] night, you would not expect to win four in a row in this type of series. The fact that we were able to split here prior, then take two out of three at home, you know, we're one win away from where we want to get to."

Getting there, of course, won't be easy, now that the Red Sox are back on their home turf.

But the Indians, at the least, have a little organizational history on their side.

The 1997 ALCS unfolded precisely the way this one has, to this point. The Indians were simply outplayed in a 3-0 loss in Baltimore in Game 1 and staged a late rally to win Game 2 by a 5-4 count, sending the series to The Jake in a split.

In the comforts of home, the Indians won Game 3 in 12 innings by a 2-1 count, and took Game 4, 8-7, before dropping a potential clincher in Game 5, 4-2.

When the series shifted back to Camden Yards, the Indians took care of business in Game 6, winning a 1-0 thriller in 11 innings, with Tony Fernandez's memorable home run sealing it.

Of course, not one member of that '97 team is on this team. And, worse yet, the Red Sox have a roster not completely removed from the '04 club that fell behind, 3-0, to the Yankees in the ALCS, only to rally for four straight wins to send them to a World Series they went on to sweep against the Cardinals.

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Wedge knows that little bit of trivia. It's safe to say it's been pointed out to him more than a couple of times in recent days.

So, how much of an advantage do the Red Sox have, given that history of the heroic comeback?

"Well, we'll find out," Wedge said. "I mean, when it comes to our guys ... every game for us in a different way or in a different situation is another first for us. I think our guys have done a [heck] of a job handling all of that, and they have a sense of security with each other, in regard to how they handle things."

The Indians have already survived quite a bit this season, be it the lost off-days from those four home games snowed out in April or the injuries and ineffectiveness of two spots in the rotation in the first half or the slumping bats after the All-Star break.

As far as they're concerned, this is no big deal.

"This team has dealt with adversity all year," said ace C.C. Sabathia, whose inability to outduel Beckett on Thursday got the club in this mess. "We've had our ups and downs. We know if we play our type of baseball, we'll get it done."

Besides, a 3-2 lead is still a 3-2 lead -- even at Fenway Park, where the atmosphere promises to be electric this weekend.

With their 13-6, 11-inning victory in Game 2 last Saturday, the Indians proved they can successfully diffuse that electricity, just as they did in their AL Division Series Game 4 clincher at Yankee Stadium. When the Tribe returned home from that win and won two more, some viewed the club's fortunes as an example of a momentum swing.

Those same people are now speculating that the Sox might, indeed, have the momentum now.

"I don't believe in momentum in baseball," Tribe third baseman Casey Blake said. "We're still in a position to win."

And whether they expected to be reporting for work at Fenway on Saturday or not, that's one fact the Indians, who are looking to avoid becoming just the 11th team in postseason history to squander a 3-1 lead in a best-of-seven series, won't ignore.

"I'm confident they're going to come out [Saturday], and [Thursday's] game is going to be a long ways away from them," Wedge said, "because their focus will be on what they need to do."

Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.