A few thoughts about Game 2 of the World Series between the Boston Red Sox and the Colorado Rockies (I’ll be commenting on all of the World Series games this season.):
Before Game 2 starts, a few things come to mind.
Remember last season when the Red Sox tanked for the last two months? It coincided with catcher Jason Varitek going down with a season-ending injury. Boston wasn’t the same after losing their leader. Say what you want about Big Papi, Manny and the rest, but Varitek is the glue for that entire organization.
Just look at what ace Josh Beckett did in Game 1. Granted, it was a confluence of events that suggested a great start was coming: Beckett’s a stud in the postseason, the Rockies had been off for eight days, it was 40-some degrees and it was raining. Of course Beckett, armed with his heavy fastball, was going to be of the shove-it-up-’em variety.
But look at how Beckett mowed the Rocks down. He didn’t need a curve ball through the first four innings, and struck out seven in that time. His second time through the lineup, Beckett buckled their knees with the good 12-6 curve. It was like he had different stuff the second time a rusty team saw him. Brilliant.
I don’t know if it was Beckett who was cognizant enough to do that, or Varitek. Either way, looking back, there was no reason to think beforehand that the Rockies were going to do anything with Beckett on he bump in Game 1.
That’s the Sox — good and smart.
Good to see the Rockies being aggressive against Curt Schilling in the early going. Wily Taveras attempted to bunt (work Schilling as much as possible), the hitters were patient, and even though Tim McCarver has already beaten this into the ground, Taveras’ moving up to third on Matt Holliday’s infield hit was heads-up and led to the first-inning run.
Funny, in Game 1, the Rocks may have been too aggressive in the bottom of the first, bringing the infield in down 1-0 and runners on. A line drive might — again, might — have been caught by shortstop Troy Tulowitzki and led to a double play, but instead it went for a hit and more runs as the Red Sox took control early.
It’s early, but Schilling appears to be getting the ball up in the zone. That’s not the way you want to pitch to anybody, and especially not the Rockies.
Another good sign for Colorado — rookie flamethrower Ubaldo Jimenez just worked a perfect first inning.
The book on Schilling is that you have to get to him early in the game and make him work. After getting a few pitches up in the first inning, Schilling is now in a groove through three, working his splitter and cutter with effectiveness.
Pounding the strike zone now, Schilling looks like he may only need a couple of runs before handing the game over to a well-rested bullpen.
You have to get David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez out if you are to beat the Boston Red Sox. OK? Everybody on board with that now?
Jimenez gets credit for showing some toughness out there in Game 2. For a little more than four innings, Jimenez matched pitches with one of the best postseason starters of all time in Schilling. He had his walks troubles — he had 45 in just over 100 innings pitched this year — but he got some studly outs, too. After walking two with two outs to face Ortiz in the third inning, he nearly gave up a 3-run bomb down the right-field line. So what did Jimenez do? He fanned Big Papi on an inside slider under the hands. That’s big-time.
But Jimenez walked Ortiz with two outs in the fifth and gave up a single to Ramirez, and after Mike Lowell touched him for a double, Jimenez was lifted with the Sox up 2-1.
Then it was up to Royals castoff Jeremy Affeldt, which is never a good sign. The Sox loaded them up after J.D. Drew forced a walk from Affeldt, and Matt Herges got out of the inning by getting Varitek.
We’ll see if two runs are enough for Schilling and Co.
There’s the difference — slim as it is — of being a managing genius or the second coming of Grady Little.
With two on and one out in the top of the sixth, Sox manager Terry Francona pulls Schilling for Hideki Okajima, who gets the two necessary outs to get out of the jam.
Colorado’s Clint Hurdle will likely get killed all night and all day Friday for not pulling Jimenez before pitching to Lowell. But if Brad Hawpe slaps a single somewhere off of Okajima with two outs, it’s 3-2 Rockies and it’s Francona who’s a moron.
Funny game, huh?
It’s “good luck, you’re going to need it” time now for the Rockies. Okajima is working into the eighth now and Papelbon is warming up in the pen.
Six outs and no runs means the fate of the Rockies rest of the not-so-sturdy arm of Josh Fogg in Game 3.
Now it’s “good night” time for the Rockies. Papelbon was brilliant, picking off Holliday in the eighth and ripping through the side with three Ks in the ninth for a dominating save.
Now it’s a 2-0 lead for the better team, and the Rockies will have to win all three at home to have a prayer.
Check back later Friday for some thoughts on how the Rockies might — the key word being “might” — be able to get back into the series.
Hint: There aren’t many.