ALCS Game 6: Schilling, Drew come through

Curt Schilling just seems to be on his game when the season is on the line. The wily 40-year old veteran showed that he’s still capable of pitching with what he has. He used his split-finger fastball and his changeup pretty effectively over seven innings, allowing six hits and two runs, walking no one. He worked his way through a LOT of leadoff hits (he surrendered hits to begin 5 of his 7 innings of work). There were some long fly balls, but the Sox ran them all down. He needed only 90 pitches in this outing, and he even struck out five batters.

Schilling was handed a four-run lead after one frame by an unlikely hero. After two infield singles by Dustin Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis and a walk of David Ortiz loaded the bases, Manny Ramirez struck out on a nasty sinker and Mike Lowell flied out. With J.D. Drew at the plate, the best outcome I was hoping for was that he could walk in a run. But he took a 3-1 fastball by Fausto Carmona for a pretty good ride, and just cleared the fence to the right of the Green Monster. I’m very happy for the much-maligned Drew, and hope this becomes a turning point for him in his Boston career.

The Indians didn’t help matters, stumbling and bumbling their way through a 6-run bottom of the 3rd inning. Carmona walked Manny and Lowell to lead off the inning, and props to Drew for singling to keep the pressure on. Out comes Rafael Perez, the Red Sox favorite Tribe bullpen punching bag this series, now with a 45.00 ERA (why didn’t Wedge bring him in to face Drew at least???). Jason Varitek flied out to right, and then Jacoby Ellsbury had a key opposite-field single. Then he scored from first on Julio Lugo‘s double down the line.

Then the real fun begins. Obviously flustered, Perez walks Pedey, and Youkilis bangs a long one off the Green Monster. Kenny Lofton finally manages to play the carom right (he got a lot of practice last night), and they trap Youk off of first. Rookie Asdrubal Cabrera is chasing him back to first, and somehow manages to throw it off a ducking Youk’s helmet. Safe. The Indians bring in lefty Aaron Laffey, who gets Papi to ground hard to first base. An easy double play, right? It is unless your first baseman (Ryan Garko) throws it a good 10 feet short into the ground. After a Manny walk, the massacre finally ends with a Lowell fly ball. 10-1, Sox after three. Hello Game 7!

Ellsbury played well in his first postseason start, and didn’t shatter anything (except maybe Cleveland’s hopes). Hey, even Eric Gagne did well in this one.

You get the feeling that you’re watching a young, inexperienced team just unravel. After two straight poundings, I don’t expect them to put up much of a fight tonight. Those Cleveland fans will be sorry for calling one of our players “Rice-K” (I won’t tell you who). Despite the loss in Game 3, it’s still my opinion that Daisuke Matsuzaka pitched better Jake Westbrook last time, and I fully expect it to happen again in tonight’s game. Well, Cleveland, you guys can always donate those World Series T-shirts to the homeless.


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