Re: Flashback: 10 things that still amaze me about the 2004 ALCS
posted at 12/27/2012 2:39 AM EST
In response to nhsteven's comment:
In response to Hfxsoxnut's comment:
1 David Ortiz. Walkoff HR in G4. Walkoff single in G5. Including the last game of the ALDS, over a span of 6 postseason games the Red Sox had 3 wins, and they all came on walkoff hits by Ortiz. He also had a key HR in the 8th inning of G5 and another in the 1st inning of G7. For the 2004 postseason, Ortiz hit a mind-boggling 400/515/764 with 5 HR and 19 RBI in 14 games.
2 Joe Torre crucial error in G5. The Yankees led 4-2 going to the bottom of the 8th inning. Torre opted to open the inning with Tom Gordon instead of Rivera. Rivera had thrown 2 innings and 40 pitches in G4 and Torre didnt want to ask him to do it 2 games in a row. But Gordon gave up a home run, a walk and a single without retiring a batter. Then Torre brought in Rivera. Rivera allowed a game-tying sac fly, then closed out the rest of the inning, and the 9th inning as well, with no further damage. So yes, he ended up throwing the 2 innings anyway. Thanks always, Joe.
3 Curt Schilling G6. The Bloody Sock has come to overshadow Schillings performance. But even if you leave out the Sock and the strange saga of how Dr. Bill Morgan was able to get him out on the field, it was a masterful clutch performance at the most crucial time. 7 innings of 1-run ball on a cold miserable night in Yankee Stadium, in front of 50,000 Yankee fans there to see the Red Sox comeback and the hopes of their fans crash and burn one more time.
4 Umpiring crew G6. I still cant believe this. First they correctly reversed the original call on Bellhorns HR which was called a double at first. That was a one run turnaround. Then, even more incredibly, they correctly reversed the original call on the A-Rod slap play, with 50,000 fans booing and throwing stuff on the field. That was at least a one run turnaround. Both reversals were based solely on the umpires assembling and discussing what they had seen-no replays.
5 Yankee bats silenced after G3. In G3 the Yankees were a wrecking machine, hitting scorching line drive after towering bomb en route to a merciless 19-run barrage that left the Red Sox staff in shreds. Then, magically, in G4-7, the Red Sox pitching was suddenly stellar and the Yankee big bats, A-Rod, Sheffield, and Matsui, were virtually shut down. How can you explain such things? How can a pitcher like Curtis Leskanic record 4 straight outs in the extra innings of G4 after giving up 3 runs and getting only one out in G3? Those 4 outs, by the way, were the last pitches of Leskanics career.
6 Keith Foulke G4-6. Foulke somehow managed to throw 5 scoreless innings and 100 pitches in 3 nights. He was truly running on fumes by the time Tony Clark swung and missed the final pitch of G6. One of Franconas greatest moves was using Foulke to get 8 outs in G4 while the Red Sox were still trailing by a run. Foulke went on to a lights-out World Series. Unfortunately, it appears he paid the price for his magnificent postseason with the health of his arm.
7 Derek Lowe G4, G7. Here is a pitcher coming off a truly awful season, so bad that he was pushed out of the postseason rotation and only the G4 starter because of the dire condition of the staff. Lowe turns in a clutch performance in G4, then another in G7. He ends up as the winning pitcher in the deciding games of all 3 postseason series for the Sox. And then, of course, is cut loose by the team. It's a strange game.
8 Tony Clark ground-rule double in 9th inning of G5. Often pointed to as the moment that made many people think the baseball gods were on the Sox side for once. If Clarks ball doesnt hop the fence, Sierra scores, and Rivera probably closes things out for a 5-4 Yankee win and the end of the series.
9 Francona near-critical error in G5. Cant let you off the hook on this one, Terry. In the top of the 6th inning the Yankees took a 4-2 lead on Jeters 2-out, bases-loaded double off Pedro. It was a dagger, another big blow by Captain Clutch. Following that, Pedro hit A-Rod and walked Sheffield to re-load the bases. Up steps Matsui, who to this point in the series already has a ridiculous 12 hits and 10 RBI. This would be the correct time to pull Pedro, who is clearly at the end of his rope, having reached 107 pitches. Surely Tito remembers the lessons of 2003 ALCS G7 when Pedro was left in too long. Surely he knows the stats on how Pedro loses effectiveness at 105 pitches and will not let him face the smoking-hot Matsui. Well, actually, no. Tito leaves Pedro in, and on a 2-1 pitch Matsui hits a deadly-looking sinking liner to right field. Miraculously, Trot Nixon, whose misplay on a Jeter fly ball in that same 2003 ALCS G7 contributed to the Yankee rally, runs in and makes a fine catch to keep the score at 4-2.
10 Tim Wakefield G5. Tim Wakefield somehow threw 3 scoreless innings, the 12th, 13th and 14th, and became the winning pitcher. All this with Varitek catching him instead of his usual catcher Mirabelli. The 13th inning was the classic, as no less than 3 passed balls by Varitek resulted in an extra out for the Yankees and 3 bases advanced by the runners. It all came down to Wakefield striking out Sierra with the bases loaded on a 3-2 count, his 34th pitch of the inning. You can't make this stuff up.
Yes, I know, I'm leaving out things like the Roberts steal and Damons HRs. Others would likely have much different lists. That's how much stuff happened in that one incredible series.
Nixon's catch of Matsui's bases loaded liner in G5.
Thats under number 9 at the very end.