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Game 6, Tag-Team Style

Greetings once again from Fenway Park in Boston. Svrluga and I are both in the house and will be tag-teaming this one and Game 7, if necessary. Personally, I'm flying high because my alma mater, Vanderbilt, pulled off a major upset of No. 6 South Carolina (also my brother's alma mater) and the Ol' Ball Coach today. As for Svrluga's beloved Dukies (1-6), they are enjoying a much-needed bye. (Svrluga just chimed in: "Put in there that Duke doesn't have an easy game on its schedule until Notre Dame on Nov. 19.")

Anyway, let's talk some baseball... Delicious matchup here tonight between 40-year-old Curt Schilling and 23-year-old Fausto Carmona. In Game 2, neither pitcher lasted past the fifth inning, and the game was ultimately decided by the bullpens. The Red Sox had a tremendous approach against Carmona, whose pure stuff is among the best in the entire game. They laid off his excellent sinker when it dove out of the strike zone, and in the process drove up his pitch count and made him throw it over the plate. One of the keys to the game is how Carmona adjusts to the Red Sox's plate discipline. And the strike zone of home plate umpire Dana DeMuth will also be key.

Schilling, meantime, is 9-2 in the postseason in his career -- the best career mark of any pitcher with at least 10 decisions. The last time he pitched a Game 6 with the Red Sox trailing by a game? That would be 2004 -- the famous Bloody Sock game at Yankee Stadium. With the tendon in his ankle stitched up and oozing blood, Schilling threw seven fabulous innings to lead the Red Sox to a win. He said yesterday that his stuff, lately, has been better now than it was then.

Both teams are feeling very confident about their chances tonight because of whom they are sending to the mound. If the Red Sox manage to win this game, Sunday's Game 7, obviously, will be fascinating -- if for no other reason than to see who pitches for Boston, and for how long? Sounds like they would still start Daisuke Matsuzaka, despite his meltdown during and after Game 3 -- but he would be on a very, very, very short leash. And then? I assume we would see Josh Beckett in relief.

But we're getting ahead of ourselves. Game 6 is tonight. As expected, the Red Sox have rookie Jacoby Ellsbury in their lineup, replacing Coco Crisp in CF and the No. 8 hole. The Indians have Trot Nixon in place of Franklin Gutierrez in right. Here are the lineups:

For the Indians:
CF Grady Sizemore
2B Asdrubal Cabrera
DH Travis Hafner
C Victor Martinez
1B Ryan Garko
SS Jhonny Peralta
LF Kenny Lofton
RF Trot Nixon
3B Casey Blake
(RHP Fausto Carmona)

For the Red Sox:
2B Dustin Pedroia
1B Kevin Youkilis
DH David Ortiz
LF Manny Ramirez
3B Mike Lowell
RF J.D. Drew
C Jason Varitek
CF Jacoby Ellsbury
SS Julio Lugo
(RHP Curt Schilling)

By Dave Sheinin  |  October 20, 2007; 4:45 PM ET
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Next: Nothing like it in sports


Thanks, Dave and Barry. I'm looking forward to the game.

Posted by: natsfan1a | October 20, 2007 5:39 PM | Report abuse

Sorry Dave and everyone. This is one of my only non-Chad Cordero rants and wanted to give it maximum air, so I gotta post again. Thanks for indulging me.

Okay, I'm usually very forgiving of Kasten
and his people when it comes to my season tickets. I don't think I've once joined in the various gripes about whatever the gripe of the day is. I wasn't upset when I got my packet the week before opening day. I'm not too worked up about where I'm going to sit in the new park. I'm not even worked up about the 400% price increase. I'm even cheering him on about the parking situation, knowing he's going to have a hard time of it. I'm still that grateful to have baseball in my town.

But I have a serious bone to pick about an email I just got. It says people can come down to ESPN Zone on Tuesday evening, put NEW deposits down for FIRST TIME season tickets on the new park AND GET A FREAKIN' MP3 PLAYER???!!!! The same MP3 player I was promised, several times, and NEVER GOT for the 2007 season tickets I paid for!!!!! And where's the freakin' MP3 player for my deposit I paid IN JUNE for 2008 Stan? Huh? I never expected an MP3 player. But YOU TOLD ME I would get one. Several times. Never saw it. And I never said a word until now.

You've got some nerve, Stan Kasten. But I don't care about the freakin' MP3 player. You know what you can do with my MP3 player, Stan.


Posted by: NatsNut | October 20, 2007 5:49 PM | Report abuse

Lofton is the only Cleveland player in the line up with > 12 career at bats vs. Schilling (7/27 w/ 1HR). Gomez on bench has great numbers over 36 ABs (.306/1/11). But - Hafner, Martinez, Peralta, and Sizemore, in 8 - 12 ABs each, have a combined 19/40 with 3 HRs and 10 RBI. On the other hand, Sox absolutely lit up Carmona last year when he tried to close a few games at Fenway. My guess is neither makes it through 6.

Posted by: jon | October 20, 2007 6:26 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: NatsNut | October 20, 2007 05:49 PM

Barry take note.....There are stories people want you to work on. I can think of more than 10 stories you have promised to work on, any of which would help the Post more than a second story from Boston tonight. I do not blame you for taking the assignment; who would not want a ticket, but the Editor who approved it should be one of the first to be laid off this time around.

Bill Ladson has already talked to Nick and Bergman and Patterson news is being posted by fan sites, Flores has not played since getting hit by a pitch, FA analysis of Hunter has been discussed and Lopez's value as well......Week 4 and counting for your D4 effort on Young as the lead story, do you want us to send you a wake up in March?

Posted by: Nats News First Please | October 20, 2007 6:47 PM | Report abuse

Nats News First Please : Would you please calm down!? Barry worked on the Nats TIRELESSLY for the past several months. There will be plenty of time to look into things. Johnson - he's rehabbing - is there really anything else to know? Patterson - same story - rehab. Who cares about Hunter now? Nothing is going to happen until after the World Series. So please, take a break and enjoy the postseason. Then next week start worrying agin.

Posted by: WOAH | October 20, 2007 7:40 PM | Report abuse

It's actually the "principle," unless you're talking about the person who runs a school.

Posted by: Spellman | October 20, 2007 9:49 PM | Report abuse

right. principle. I'm so embarrassed. And I shouted it too. Ugh.

What's worse, I'm always calling people out on grammatical/spelling mistakes. Serves me right.

So, how demoralizing is the score right now?

Posted by: NatsNut | October 20, 2007 10:03 PM | Report abuse

Well, NatsNut, this Bostonian is pretty happy right now.

Posted by: #1 Lurker | October 20, 2007 10:29 PM | Report abuse

right on Carmona, wrong on Schilling.

Posted by: jon | October 21, 2007 12:24 AM | Report abuse

did anyone see tori hunter's comments about wanting to play in DC? not that i think we'll want to offer enough for him, but hey, it would be cool to see him here...

from ESPN's rumors page:

Hunter interested in D.C., Atlanta
Oct 19 - Torii Hunter, who is expected to become a free agent this offseason, told he is interested in joining the Nationals because of his close relationship with Dmitri Young and because of Washington, D.C.'s large African-American population. For the same reason, he is also interested in Atlanta.

"I always talk to my wife about being interested in playing in front of the African-American fans and trying to get the African Americans back to playing the game," he told "If I go to Atlanta or D.C. and make a difference that way, I would love it. Trust me -- D.C. is very interesting to me as well as Atlanta."

Posted by: other 506 | October 21, 2007 12:28 AM | Report abuse

What the Nats offer for Hunter will, of course, depend on what they think they need vs. what they think they will get. To me, as I put forth in Federal Baseball yesterday, he's a player of worth from multiple points of view.

Hunter is much more than an offensively and defensively talented center fielder. As a Washington National, he would have the potential to bring a unique kind of leadership to the team and to baseball.

I'll not expound further here -- actually, I'd like to hear Boz' take -- but the Nats FO, if they are wise, won't slam the checkbook shut just yet.

Posted by: Hendo | October 21, 2007 7:50 AM | Report abuse

ref: Hunter - check out the Nats blog (Capital Punishment). It does some interesting stat comparisons between Hunter and Church. It really surprised me and I'm sure it will surprise most of you.

Posted by: Loggie | October 21, 2007 8:29 AM | Report abuse

Glad I am not the only one asking for the Post to cover the team.....anyway....I find it interesting how few people post about Boston Cleveland game. If people post at all it comes back to Nats News.

If the Post wants to focus on baseball that people do not care about, then that is their own (poor) business decision.

Still I do also recall several stories that Berry noted this year that are worth covering and writing more about and now is a fine time by me....I could care less about Boston Vs. Cleveland....I watch but I do not care who wins or how they do next year. I do care and pay big dollars on the Nats!

Posted by: JayB | October 21, 2007 8:29 AM | Report abuse

JayB, I would expect to see Nats-centric coverage tick upward right after the World Series, during the GM meetings in Orlando. (At about which time I hope to be out in Phoenix catching some Arizona Fall League.)

By the winter meetings in Nashville in December, there should be a goodly amount of buzz; that's when FA arbitration offers will have been made -- or not -- and the rumors and dollars will start to fly around.

In the meantime, I suppose there would be some esoteric value in Nats FO Kremlinology, but that's about all it would be at this point. Even if some enterprising Post columnist, reporter, or intern decided to blow the lid off MP3gate, or whatever, it would likely get buried under the World Series.

Like many fans, I like reading about actual baseball. Particularly since the live media coverage is, shall we say, a bit uneven. (I've been getting the Red Sox feed from WRKO via Gameday Audio, which is OK. Also, thanks to whoever suggested ESPN 1000 out of Chi; I could listen to Jon Miller all night. Joe Morgan is another matter. And let's not even go into the FOX TV coverage.)

Anyway we can console ourselves that, if all goes well, we will indeed have good, on-field reasons to read about the Nats in October some year soon.

Posted by: Hendo | October 21, 2007 9:22 AM | Report abuse

My aunt says that the Indians have been taken over by aliens. Works for me. Hope that they can pull it together tonite. On the plus side, if they do not, I will not be conflicted about whom to root for in the World Series (go Rocks!!). GHF department: I continue to be impressed by, and to play "what if?" regarding, Grady Sizemore (I realize that his bat is dormant at present, but he did have that great diving catch last night).

I agree with Hendo's take on postseason coverage.

Posted by: natsfan1a | October 21, 2007 10:21 AM | Report abuse

To those who think people who read this site and the Post don't care about post-season coverage really don't know what it is to be a true fan of the game.

How incredibly short-sighted and irresponsible, not to mention ridiculous, would it be for a national newspaper to be writing about winter league teams with maybe a handful of *possible* Nats players or the status of injuries just a couple weeks out, during the POST-SEASON?? You've got to be freakin' kidding me? Barry, would be the laughing stock of his profession. Dude, I think that stuff can wait.

I'd be willing to bet that plenty of people are reading the non-Nats posts and, like me, just don't have a lot to comment on. I just don't follow the other teams enough during the season to discuss intelligently. But believe me, and I'm one of the most avid Nats nuts around, I'm still devouring the post-season coverage.

It's about the game, man. The love of the GAME.

Posted by: NatsNut | October 21, 2007 10:23 AM | Report abuse

I agree with you it is about the love of the game NatsNut, and that is why I watch the games and love them. I do not need Dave's or Bos Waxing Poetic to enjoy the game.

I do NOT need Barry telling me all about JD Drew to enjoy the Game.....I only need that if I am a fan of the Boston, which I am not......what did YOU NEED from Barry's JD Drew story to help you love the game?

Posted by: JayB | October 21, 2007 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Ditto, NatsNut. I'm reading but just not informed enough about these teams to comment. We've got many months of NO baseball in which to hash out minutiae about what's happening with the Nats in the off-season. Right now there's still baseball to be had and that's what I want to read about!

By the way, my paraphrasing of that email about the ESPNZone give away was, "Come sign up for season tickets and get some leftover crap from last season!" Way to make people feel loved.

Posted by: JennX | October 21, 2007 10:56 AM | Report abuse

Hey - i've got a compromise for the future. A Nats only blog by Barry and a second general baseball blog, similar to the separate Barry and Dave chats this summer. I've even got a suggestion for the name for Dave's blog - "Sheiner's Grove" (woa-oh, Sheiner's Grove).

hendo - where do you post your full stuff?

Posted by: jon | October 21, 2007 11:11 AM | Report abuse

Mostly here, jon, with infrequent forays into Federal Baseball, Nationals Farm Authority, and NationalsPride.

Not to disrespect the other blogs, to be sure (as I bow humbly to misschatter et al.).

Posted by: Hendo | October 21, 2007 11:36 AM | Report abuse

new post up

Posted by: natsfan1a | October 21, 2007 1:39 PM | Report abuse

jayb, don't mistake posters on a nats blog on to be a representative sample of baseball readers for the wapost in general. just because some of us here are making Nats related posts doesn't mean (a) we're only interested in nats info in the post and (b) there aren't plenty of baseball fans (not just nats fans, but non-nats fans) who want plenty of coverage of the world series.

it's not as if once the skins season is over in the playoffs, we'll get lots of skins coverage while they ignore the super bowl. or that during the NBA playoffs, we'll get injury reports on deshawn stephenson over coverage of the rest of the playoffs.

Posted by: other 506 | October 21, 2007 3:06 PM | Report abuse

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