The 2004 Boston Red Sox has inspired library books, special editions and documentaries about their miraculous experience as World Series champions. This team, affectionately known as the “Idiots”, ended the 86-year drought of the World Series of the franchise. Breaking the curse made them one of the most famous and beloved teams in the history of baseball.
Now Houston Astros in 2020 is trying to match one of Boston’s historic achievements: The Red Sox are the only team in major league history after the season to win a series of the best of 7 after losing their first three games. . Astros boosted Saturday’s Game 7 with a 7-4 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays on Friday at Petco Park in San Diego.
Astros, of course, do not have a cute nickname. Baseball fans around the country may have another name for them, but it̵
The Asters are aware of the story they are pursuing. Alex Bregman made his teammates watch the documentary “Four Days in October” for the Red Sox before Game 5. Well, some of his teammates anyway; Michael Brantley said he had not heard of it. Still, with Astros on the verge of a Boston coincidence, let’s see what comparisons we can find between what happened in 2004 and what Astros did in 2020.
The first three matches
Think of all the psychic baggage the Red Sox had to deal with: They fought the curse; they had lost a heartbreaking series in the 2003 American League Championship to the Yankees in seven games; and then the Yankees defeated them in the first three games in 2004 with scores of 10-7, 3-1 and 19-8. On top of that, full-time ace Kurt Schilling was battling an ankle injury and was bombed in Game 1. The Red Sox didn’t know if he would play again.
The Astros have their own baggage with the revelation of off-season fraud, which made them the most hated team in the major (and their ace, Justin Verlander, came out in August after Tommy John’s operation). The big difference here is that they were close in the first three games. Jose Altowe made two decisive throwing errors and Reiss played an outstanding defense, especially in Game 3; but Astros prevailed well and they not only outsmarted the rays 26-18, but also hit the ball more often.
The Red Sox were carefree and maybe 3-0 less pressure on them. They also knew they were as good as the Yankees after going 11-8 against them in the regular season.
The Astros knew that they only needed a few breaks to start on their way, and that although luck does not always equalize in a short series, if they continue to hit the ball hard, good results will surely happen.
“Things aren’t really going our way so far,” Houston manager Dusty Baker said after Game 3. “We really have our backs to the wall. It’s a steep mountain to climb, but it’s not impossible. We just have to tighten our belts, put on the big ones.” get your pants on and go out tomorrow to fight. “
In Game 4 of the ALCS, Dave Roberts spent second base for the Red Sox, which created a binding game and a remarkable return to the series.
Despite the positive attitude to the game, the Red Sox were 4-3 at the bottom of the ninth with the invincible Mariano Rivera in the game. You know what happened. Kevin Millar took the fifth step. Pinscher Dave Roberts stole a second – barely – and Bill Mueller took him home. Forgotten: David Ortiz jumped out with the loaded foundations to end the inning. Ortiz delivered three passes later, however, with a walk, a double run home by Paul Cointril.
Most teams don’t even make it to game 5. Of the 39 best of the seven series, which were 3-0, 28 ended up fuzzy. Most teams, after a long season, are physically tired and mentally exhausted and winning four in a row against a good team can feel futile.
The Astros took a 2-0 lead early, Reiss equalized, but then George Springer hit Tyler Glasnov twice in the fifth inning – the winning shot in a possible 4-3 victory. In fact, Houston’s luck finally turned around in the ninth, when Willy Adames’ RBI doubled the wall in the left center, failing to be the host connecting the game, controlled just a few meters away.
Springer went 3-for-4 in the game, while Altuve went 2-for-4 with the host and double. The Red Sox had Ortiz, one of the best kids of the season of all time, but the Asters have a Springer and Altuve. See the ranks after the season in the career for the three (entering game 6 for Springer and Altuve):
Springer: .274 / .353 / .560, 19 HR in 252 AB
Altuve: .298 / .368 / .560, 18 HR in 248 AB
Ortiz: .289 / .404 / .543, 17 HR in 304 AB
The Astros players had a preliminary meeting, but Baker even laughed shortly after the game. “I think as a society we meet too often sometimes. All we do is state the obvious,” Baker said. “We are in the process of elimination, if we lose this game tonight, no one is ready to go home, we are ready to go to Dallas.” In other words, it’s about talking to your bats, and it’s no surprise that Houston’s versions of David Ortiz came out with the big hits.
Only three of those 39 teams, which were 3-0, had missed up to six games before Astros. The Red Sox drew another dramatic victory, winning 5-4 in 14 assists on Ortiz’s double. The Yankees actually took the lead with 4: 2, entering the bottom of the eighth, but Ortiz lost to host Tom Gordon, Millar walked and Trot Nixon single. Only then did Rivera enter the game, giving up tying with a scapegoat. Maybe if Joe Torre brought Rivera to the rescue with two innings – as the manager often did – things would have turned out differently. However, Rivera had thrown 40 pitches in Game 4, and Gordon was outstanding this year.
The big difference between the Red Sox and the Astros? The Red Sox had a pretty good starter number 2 in Game 5: Pedro Martinez. Dusty Baker had to improvise and play a game of bull, choosing to avoid starting Frambert Valdes on a short break and keeping the starter № 5 Christian Javier relieved. The first five pitchers Baker used were recruits. Reis hit three households, but all were individual strikes. Springer lost the host in the first inning, and then Korea came out at the bottom of the ninth with a draw.
Correa called his shot: “When I got into this bat, I told Altuve to go off the field. [that] “I’ll put an end to it.” I felt that my swing was in sync, I felt that my rhythm was good, I felt that I wanted to hit the ball and I felt that I could do it. “
He did it. And that’s right, all the momentum was now in Houston’s favor. They were still alive, they had prepared their best starter for Match 6, the goals were falling and the pressure was on Tampa Bay.
As it turned out, Schilling it was able to file again. One important – and often forgotten – note about the 2004 series is that Game 3 was originally raining, so the last five games were played for five days, with no day off before Game 6. Due to the rains, Martinez was able to start Game 5 on a regular break, which allows Schilling to be displaced another day. Schilling had a temporary ankle procedure, so it was the famous Bloody Socks game. He allowed one run for seven innings, Mark Belhorn hit the host three times and the Red Sox won 4-2.
The refusal to panic in Game 5 meant that Baker had managed to start Valdes on a full break. There was a little luck here again. If Game 5 had gone to the 10th inning, Baker said Valdes would have come in. The Korean home team not only won Game 5, but may have won Game 6. Valdes allowed a run for six passes, and the quick hook of starter Blake Snell to Kevin Cash in the fifth inning after a walk and a base kick responded as Astros scored four tracks to lead 4-1.
Both managers were committed in 2004. Terry Francona had no clear chance. His rotation had gone to Schilling, Martinez, Bronson Arroyo, Derek Lowe, Martinez, and Schilling. Arroyo was relieved in Game 6. Francona went with Lowe on a two-day break. Mike Mussina, John Liber, Kevin Brown, Orlando Hernandez, Musina and Liber had joined Torre’s rotation. Javier Vazquez was the solid fifth starter, but he had thrown 96 pitches in Brown’s relief in Game 3 after Brown lasted just two innings. The game eventually turned into a blow, but Torre eventually burned two starting pitchers. Brown had thrown only 57 pitches, so Torre went with him on a three-day break. Bad choice. Ortiz — yes, again – hit a double homer in the first; and with busy bases in the second, Vazquez replaced Brown, and Johnny Damon greeted him with a grand slam. The Red Sox won 10-3.
For Astros and Rays, neither Baker nor Cash are in the same messing mode with their pitching staffs. Game 2 launches Lance McCullers Jr. and Charlie Morton will be on regular leave. As Game 6 became a decisive loss, Reyes managed to save all of its top highlights, with the exception of Diego Castillo, who threw 14 pitches. Manuel Margot’s double home game in the eighth forced Baker to use Ryan Presley closer for the third day in a row, so that’s a minor problem; but Pressly had a quick inning with nine steps and he threw 39 pitches during those three games. He will be ready.
But like Yankee Stadium’s game in 2004, you wonder if it will come down to the first two innings, not the ninth. You can see the dichotomy in the emotions of one game in the sixth inning of Game 6. It was 5-1 at the time, but Reyes put two with one, against Valdes, who had just walked Yandi Diaz, the two exchanging words after Diaz barked at Valdes after ball four. Now Valdez was approaching 100 pitches and tiring, but he made Brandon Lowe hit in a double play, Lowe hit his helmet on the ground as he passed through first base. Valdes pumps his first and celebrates with Korea and Altowe as he leaves the field. After this play, I sent a message to a friend: “This series is over.”
I know. Baseball doesn’t have to be that way. Impulse is a word used by writers and professionals, not by players. But the disappointment of the rays is there. We can see it.
“They are disappointed. We are all disappointed,” Cash said. “I don’t think they’re straining. I think they realize that we have the opportunity for the fourth time to do something special. And we’re confident that we can find ways to really compete and drive the bats, to get some run for Charlie and finds a way to win. “
Diaz’s act of disregard reminded me of the scandalous Alex Rodriguez-Bronson Arroyo incident in Game 6 in 2004, when Rodriguez threw the ball out of Arroyo’s glove and was called in to intervene. As with Diaz, the thought was, “What were you thinking? Why are you yelling at your opponent after taking a walk?” In the same way, when Snell was removed, he uttered the words, “What the hell are we doing?” Mike Zunino snapped his bat after a blow. This 3-0 lead feels like a long time ago.
“We’re relentless and when we say we don’t want to go home, we really mean it. We want to keep playing baseball and we don’t want it to be the end of our season,” Correa said. “We took care of those three games and now we’ve taken care of another one. If we don’t win this game, it all means nothing. We have to go out there tomorrow and win this victory.”