© 2007 MLB Advanced Media, L.P. All rights reserved.
10/21/07 3:45 AM ET
Rout makes Game 7 reality to Tribe
Carmona chased in third inning as Indians face elimination
By Anthony Castrovince / MLB.com
BOSTON -- Casey Blake sat stoically at his locker in the visitors' clubhouse at Fenway Park, fiddling aimlessly with his belt buckle and rehashing the events of the previous three hours. A group of reporters descended upon him, and Blake suddenly looked up, shook off the disappointment of what had transpired and uttered what can only be described as the Indians' mission statement, now that Game 7 of the American League Championship Series against the Red Sox is on the horizon. "There's no sense sitting here dwelling on what happened in the past," Blake said. "We've got to have a warrior mentality. We have no future, and we have no past. We've got to just show up and get the job done." That did not happen on Saturday night for the second straight game, a 12-2 loss in Game 6 of the ALCS to even the series at three games apiece. In fact, this one was all but over by the end of the third inning, with Fausto Carmona and reliever Rafael Perez profoundly pummeled by a patient and potent Red Sox offense. But while the Tribe's erstwhile 3-1 advantage is gone, the series is not. With a win in Game 7, the Tribe can still become the first Indians team to reach the World Series in a decade. And just one victory, tonight, keeps alive the dream of becoming the first Indians team to win the World Series since 1948 and snap the longest championship drought in the American League, second only to the Cubs' 99 years (and counting) of futility. The swiftness with which the Sox settled this game at least gave the Indians a head start on the mental preparation for Sunday night's 8:23 p.m. ET affair, in which Jake Westbrook will get the starting nod opposite Daisuke Matsuzaka. The two squared off in Game 3 at Jacobs Field, with Westbrook spinning 6 2/3 innings of nearly flawless ball, while Matsuzaka was unable to escape the fifth inning, as the Indians took a 2-1 lead in the series. So was Game 6 a bummer? Sure. But if told that the Indians would lose three of the four starts by their dynamic duo in this series ... well, simply put, being alive for Sunday's do-or-die scenario certainly beats the alternative. "Hey," manager Eric Wedge said, "it's going to come down to Game 7 [between] the two teams that won more baseball games than anybody in the regular season, two teams that have beat up on each other a little bit over the course of the past week, and that's the way it should be. It's something everybody should look forward to." That's a good mentality, because looking back on this loss and the Game 5 defeat that preceded it does nothing but damage to the psyche. The Indians, for the second straight game, put their faith in one of their 19-game winners. This time, it was Carmona's charge to eliminate the Fenway factor and deliver the type of outing the Indians had come to expect from him all season. Once J.D. Drew's first-inning grand slam cleared the center-field fence, Carmona was hurting. Once the Red Sox began to put together their crippling six-run third inning, Carmona was history.
Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.