Not-so great Scott: Rolen busts in World Series debut
Posted: Sunday October 24, 2004 1:26AM; Updated: Sunday October 24, 2004 1:26AM
BOSTON (AP) -- Scott Rolen was a bust in his World Series debut.
The All-Star third baseman went 0-for-5 in the St. Louis Cardinals' 11-9 loss to the Boston Red Sox in Game 1 on Saturday night. He left four runners on base and grounded into an inning-ending double play in the third.
"I don't think I swung at a strike all day," Rolen said. "I kick myself because I had some opportunities."
His best chance for a big hit came with the bases loaded in the eighth. With one out and the score tied at 9, Rolen chased a high pitch from Keith Foulke and popped out to third. Jim Edmonds then struck out looking, ending the inning.
"He made a good pitch for him. I don't need to be swinging at that pitch," Rolen said.
Rolen's tiebreaking homer off Roger Clemens in Game 7 of the NL championship series helped put the Cardinals in the World Series for the first time since 1987.
But after a huge regular season that made him a leading MVP candidate, Rolen is batting just .196 with three homers, six RBIs and 12 strikeouts in the postseason.
He got little help Saturday night from fellow slugger Albert Pujols, who also stranded four runners and finished 0-for-3.
"They did a nice job of getting out of innings," Edmonds said. "We just came up short."
Youkilis was inactive for the AL championship series. But manager Terry Francona decided that with starter Derek Lowe in the bullpen for the first two games and Bronson Arroyo available as a reliever all series, Boston could afford to give up the extra arm.
"Because of the versatility of our guys in the 'pen, we should be OK," Francona said. "And there's a confidence in what [Curt] Schilling will give us. Even though it may not be nine innings, it will be enough where we don't get in a spot."
Mendoza made two playoff appearances against the Yankees, taking the loss in Game 3 after failing to stop New York's offensive outburst in a 19-8 victory. He pitched only two innings in the series -- fewest on the team -- even though the staff was taxed by a pair of extra-inning games.
Youkilis was hitless in two at-bats against Anaheim in the first round.
"We could take advantage of having the extra position player, especially when we go to the National League city," Francona said. "It maybe makes Dave Roberts a little more valuable to us, more versatile, and when we get into the National League city, we can play maybe a little bit more National League style of baseball."
It was an interesting choice by manager Tony La Russa because Taguchi was a defensive substitute most of the season.
Taguchi went 1-for-3 with an RBI and scored a run before being lifted for pinch-hitter Roger Cedeno in the eighth. Sanders was 0-for-3 with two walks and two strikeouts.
First-base coach Dave McKay hit fungoes off the Green Monster during Friday's workout so St. Louis players could get used to the way balls bounce off particular areas. The Wall is made of sheet metal, wood and concrete, and there's also a padded portion.
"Some guys go out there and say, 'I'm going to play it like Yastrzemski, play it off the wall, catch it in the air and throw somebody out,"' McKay said. "Well, don't do that. You don't play here enough to do that.
"Let it hit the ground and play a little shallow and if it's over your head it's going to hit the wall anyway."
Taguchi said simply: "Usually if it hits the wall it's two bases, so I don't care."
Sanders said he wouldn't let being the DH affect his routine. The temperature was 49 degrees, but he planned to stay on the bench during the game.
"I'm telling my mind it's hot," he said. "I need to be out there."
Teaching Theo: The local boy who would become general manager of the Red Sox sat at home watching Boston botch Game 6 of the 1986 World Series. He saw Bill Buckner's error lead to a 6-5 loss in 10 innings to the New York Mets.
"It was devastating," Theo Epstein said. "At the age of 12, it's tough."
Still hopeful, he went to school the next day and learned an important lesson about the team's history of falling short in the postseason.
"I went to school. I said, 'Don't worry, they'll be back,"' Epstein said.
But the Red Sox hadn't won a world championship since 1918, losing the 1946, 1967 and 1975 World Series in seven games. And in 1978, they lost a one-game playoff in which light-hitting Bucky Dent hit a three-run homer for the New York Yankees in the seventh inning at Fenway Park.
Epstein's teacher quickly doused his optimism about Game 7.
"I remember my math teacher looking at me saying, 'You're a fool. You don't get it. They have no chance of winning that game,"' Epstein said.
The teacher was right. Boston blew a 3-0 lead in that one and lost 8-5.