ALCS: NEW YORK YANKEES VS. BOSTON RED SOX (NYY LEADS SERIES, 2-0)
RHP Jon Lieber nearly matched teammate Mike Mussina in shutting out the Red Sox into the seventh inning in Game 2 of NLCS. But, like Mussina, Lieber ran out of gas and had to be quickly replaced. Lieber won his last five decisions and seven of eight to close the season, and he worked into the seventh or longer in 17 of his 27 starts. "When I go out there, it's no secret as to what I'm trying to accomplish," Lieber said. "I have to throw strikes and get ahead. I have to hit my spots and hopefully they will get themselves out. I knew coming into this game with Pedro that there would be no room for error."
RHP Mariano Rivera said he would not return to his Panama home Thursday, an off day in the AL Championship Series. Rivera returned from Panama
during Tuesday night's ALCS opener after attending a funeral for two relatives. "I want to be there, but it's a long trip -- I don't have the time," said Rivera. "(My teammates) are my brothers; they are my family, too, and I have a responsibility to them."
RHP Tom Gordon's rocky eighth inning in Game 1 wasn't a by-product of getting hit in the eye with a champagne cork in the Yankees' Division
Series celebration over Minnesota, according to manager Joe Torre.
RHP Curt Schilling might not pitch again this year. The Sox tried to address the subluxation, or tear, of the sheath guarding his right ankle
tendons with a brace in Game 1. The mechanism failed, creating a "snapping" of the tendon against the ankle that left the pitcher unable to
push off the rubber and, in turn, compromising Schilling's velocity and control. The team will try to create another stabilizing brace that
will allow Schilling to pitch. If it fails, Schilling will undergo season-ending surgery to repair the torn sheath, a procedure that the club
hoped to postpone until the offseason.
RHP Pedro Martinez, in what may have been the final start of his Red Sox career, allowed just three runs over six innings. For the second
straight start, he regularly rifled fastballs into the mid-90s but dropped his career record to 10-11 against the Yankees in large part because of Jon Lieber's dominance. He reveled in the chants of "Who's your daddy" that echoed in Yankee Stadium. "I actually realized that I was
somebody important, because I caught the attention of 60,000 people, plus the whole world," Martinez said. "If you reverse the time back 15 years ago, I was sitting under a mango tree without 50 cents to actually pay for a bus. And today I was the center of attention of the whole city of New York."
Though less than thrilled to get the start by virtue of an injury, Derek Lowe clearly felt that a start in a contest he deemed "pivotal" would represent a dramatic improvement. "This postseason sucks in a way because you know your role isn't going to be that important," Lowe said of his undefined bullpen responsibilities. "If you get an opportunity to start, you gladly take it. You look forward to it."
NLCS: ST. LOUIS CARDINALS VS. HOUSTON ASTROS (STL LEADS SERIES, 2-0)
CF Jim Edmonds had been 5 for 44 (with 24 strikeouts), counting the end of the regular season, before he hit a bases-loaded double and a single while fanning only once Wednesday. He went 1-for-4 with a double in Game 2.
RF Larry Walker had three hits, missing only a home run for a cycle, in his first NLCS game.
1B Albert Pujols, after hitting a first-inning homer off RHP Brandon Backe in Game 1, had three hits in six at-bats (all homers) against Backe. "I know that he made a couple of mistakes, that he threw the ball where he didn't want to," said Pujols.
CF Carlos Beltran became the eighth player in NLCS history to homer in his first NLCS at-bat. Beltran ripped RHP Woody Williams' 2-0 pitch
over the right-field wall in the first inning of Game 1 for his fifth home run of the postseason. It also was his third home run in a span of five at-bats, all hits, dating to Game 5 of the Division Series against Atlanta.
1B Jeff Bagwell defended his decision to not let Roger Cedeno's dribbler roll foul in the sixth inning of Game 1. "The ball's on the dirt, so it's rolling a little bit too fast," Bagwell said. "If it hits something and goes fair, then we're in trouble. We have the infield back. At that particular time I guess we're OK with just giving up one run. Unfortunately for us, after two outs they scored five more. There's nothing I could have done on that play. If I let that go and it hits the bag and then the floodgates open, then it looks real bad."
RHP Woody Williams, working six innings for the win in Game 1 of the NLCS, gave up only two other hits besides the two-run homers to CF Carlos
Beltran and 2B Jeff Kent. "With the lineup they have, if you don't put the ball where you want, they can make you pay," said Williams. "I was
fortunate in giving up four runs."
Notes and Quotes from the LCS
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