I kept a little bit of a journal during tonight's Game 2 of the World Series. As it turns out, it wasn't much of a game, so it's not such an interesting journal. But here it is anyhow.
Top 1st. Although they didn't score, the Cardinals appear to be executing a game plan against the surgically enhanced Curt Schilling. Edgar Renteria's 12-pitch at bat set the tone for a patient Cardinal attack. Albert Pujols, who was quiet last night, stroked a very pretty line drive double into the gap. I've been salivating at the thought of watching him - a giant right-handed hitter - in Fenway Park, and I hope he delivers tonight.
Bottom 1st. Now let's see what Matt Morris, who has never started on 3 days rest in his Major League career, has tonight. Very nice play by Scott Rolen on Johnny Damon's grounder to Rolen's right - and a nice play by Pujols to pull it down. Morris is pitching ve-e-e-ery carefully - back-to-back walks to Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz. He's also making his cather Mike Matheny work for his pay. I wouldn't be surprised to see a wild pitch or two before Morris's night is done. But the answer to the Matt Morris question seems to be that he doesn't have a whole lot, as Jason Varitek reminds me why I so hate the Red Sox - they've scored in the first inning again.
Top 2nd. The Red Sox defense gives Jim Edmonds a second life, but the only cost is a couple extra pitches out of Schilling's Franken-ankle. There really does seem to have been a regime change in the domain of the baseball gods. The Red Sox have appeared nothing short of charmed in the last week. (And I wrote that sentence before Reggie Sanders stalled at second base on Tony Womack's single to center.) And to complete that charmed theme, yet another line drive is smoked off of a Cardinal bat and right into the glove of Bill Mueller, this time for an inning-ending double play.
Bottom 2nd. A double play, a strikeout, and the Red Sox go quietly. Maybe Morris is warming up and finding his groove.
Top 3rd, Bottom 3rd. The Cardinals and the Red Sox trade 1-2-3 frames. Morris is finally looking sharp.
Top 4th. Pujols leads off with another double. With Rolen and Edmonds coming up, I do note expect this to be the frame in which we will see famous LaRussa small-ball. But Rolen's fly to right and Pujols's heads up baserunning puts the Cardinals in a position to score a run with an out. Well, Edmonds, not that kind of out. With the strikeout, it will now take a two-out base hit from Sanders to capitalize on Pujols's big leadoff hit. Fortunately, the Red Sox defense is there to make sure the Cardinals score the run, as Mueller can't handle the sharp ground ball.
Bottom 4th. I was thinking that Matt Morris was actually looking like a Major League pitcher, but the new-era baseball gods have punished me for that thought, as the Red Sox rack up two more runs.
Bottom 5th. That does it for Morris. He's not going to have to face Ortiz again. The result: Ortiz hits the highest, longest, loudest, foul ball you've ever seen, and then demonstrates his class by bitching at the umpires while they discuss it. Of course, at home, with the benefit of replays, it's clearly foul, by five or 10 rows. I guess Ortiz can save his contrition for when he watches the replay on SportsCenter.
Top 6th. With two out, Mueller does his best Bill Buckner imitation. The end result will probably once again just be a few extra pitches out of Schilling, but it never stops being fun to watch the Red Sox's adventures in fielding. Now it's 3-0 on Edmonds - can he finally make the ridiculous parade of errors come home to roost? It looks like no - another ground out - but then Bellhorn joins the error party. What makes me mad is that somehow, these "idiots" in filthy uniforms are still winning. Charmed. Yesterday, they became the first team in over 50 years to commit 4 errors in a World Series game and still win. Now, 24 hours later, they are 9 outs away from doing it again. The new-look baseball gods have a strange sense of humor, and a terrible sense of worthy baseball.
Bottom 6th. I hate the Red Sox. I really, really hate the Red Sox.
Bottom 7th. After failing to run down a bloop in the 6th, allowing two more magical Red Sox runs to score, Jim Edmonds makes a play reminiscent of Willie Mays's "The Catch," an over-the-shoulder basket catch in a full run inches from the wall. Too bad it won't make a difference in the game.
Top 8th. Not a lot of time left for the Cardinals. If they want to mount a dramatic comeback, it had better start right here. Renteria works a leadoff walk. One out later Pujols singles Renteria over to third. Rolen is at the plate and Keith Foulke is up in the bullpen. The Cardinals need a big hit here to make it a ballgame. The Cardinals' dangerous hitters have been deafeningly quiet thus far in the World Series, a large part of the reason the Red Sox have been getting away with their Keystone Kops defense. Rolen had a great at bat, in spite of (as Fox's microphones let us hear) one of Boston's finest demonstrating the class with which Red Sox fans can comport themselves under good circumstances. ("Rolen you chickenshit! We've got your number Rolen! Zero-zero-zero!) Unfortunately a sacrifice fly just isn't going to do the job here. Why has baseball's finest offense fallen asleep on the job? And here's Keith Foulke.
Top 9th. I'm still watching, in the unlikely event the Cardinals can do something to make a baseball game out of this ridiculous farce. But three batters later, this weirdly charmed, incredibly synergistic, poorly washed bunch of players has gotten away with yet another 4-error win.