October 15, 2003

Strong Convictions Precede Great Actions. Faith may be irrational, but I have it. I had it during the ALDS; I truly believed Boston would come back and beat the A's. Now, facing the Yankees and completely frustrated by the AWOL Boston bats, I know the Red Sox can win this afternoon's Game 6 in the Bronx. And that's the only game I'm concerned about today. Faith.

"The only limit to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today; Let us move forward with strong and active faith." Franklin D. Roosevelt

"All the strength and force of man comes from his faith in things unseen. He who believes is strong; he who doubts is weak. Strong convictions precede great actions." James Freeman Clarke

"If you have abandoned one faith, do not abandon all faith. There is always an alternative to the faith we lose. Or is it the same faith under another mask?" Graham Greene

Reasons for faith?

April 6: After losing a Pedro start 2-1 in the bottom of the 9th, Boston rebounds and beats Baltimore 12-2.

April 15: Boston blows a 5-1 to the Devil Rays in the 8th inning, but Hillenbrand's bases-loaded single wins the game 6-5 in the bottom of the 9th.

April 20: Toronto leads 5-0 in the 5th. Boston ties the game 5-5 in the 7th on Garciaparra's 2-run double. Nomar then blasts a home run leading off the bottom of the 9th to win the game.

April 27: In Anaheim, Boston (up 4-1) allows single runs to the Angels in the 7th, 8th and 9th, but back-to-back home runs by Ortiz and Varitek give the Red Sox a 6-4 victory in 11 innings.

April 30: Boston trails Kansas City 2-1 after 8 innings. The Royals add two runs off Mendoza and Lyon in the top of the 9th, but the Red Sox answer with 3 runs: Walker singles, Garciaparra is hit by a pitch, Ramirez doubles, Millar hits a sacrifice fly, Hillenbrand is hit by a pitch, Damon is hit by a pitch, and Varitek reaches on an error as the winning run scores.

May 26: Boston pounds Clemens for 10 hits and 8 runs in 5.2 innings. The Red Sox win 8-4 as Fat Billy fails to record career win #300.

June 7: After six innings in Milwaukee, the Red Sox trail the Brewers 10-5. Millar hits a pinch-hit grand slam in the 7th and Nixon and Varitek hit consecutive home runs in the 9th and Boston wins 11-10.

June 12: Boston eventually loses this game, but it is one of my favorites of 2003. St. Louis leads 3-0 in Fenway, but Boston scores 3 in the bottom of the 9th to tie the game. The Cardinals score 2 on J.D. Drew's HR in the top of the 10th and Boston matches it with 2 in the home half. Jim Edmonds hits a long 3-run home run in 13th. Boston rallies: Ramirez walks, Millar singles, Nixon singles (run), Mueller grounded into double play (run), Giambi walkes, Varitek walks intentionally, Damon pops to right. Boston falls 8-7.

July 5: Boston beats Clemens like a drum once again (5.1, 8R, 6H) 10-2, one day after tagging New York for a Yankee Stadium-record 7 home runs.

July 19: Boston gets single runs in the 9th (Nomar singles, steals second and scores on Manny's hit) and 10th (Kapler runs for Giambi (who singled), steals second and scores on Nixon's single) and beat the Blue Jays 5-4.

July 26: After blowing a 4-0 lead to the Yankees, pinch-hitter David Ortiz doubles off the Monster against Benitez in the bottom of the 9th. Jeremy Giambi (who had just stolen the first base of his career) scores and Boston wins 5-4.

July 27: Boston trails the Yankees 3-0 in the 7th inning. Facing a succession of New York pitchers -- Weaver, Hammond, Benitez and Orosco -- the Red Sox bang out six runs (Varitek 3-run HR, Damon 2-run HR, Ortiz 2-run triple) and top the Yankees 6-4.

August 22-25: Boston sweeps Seattle: 6-4, 7-6, 6-1 and 8-1.

September 1: In the first game of a crucial road trip, Boston trails Philadelphia 9-7 after 8 innings. Thanks in part to Nixon's grand slam, the Red Sox score 6 runs and beat the Phillies 13-9. The Final Inning: Mirabelli walks. Damon lines out to shortstop. Jackson singles to right, Mirabelli to second. Mesa throws wild pitch, Mirabelli to third, Jackson to second. Garciaparra intentionally walked. Merloni reaches on infield single to third, Mirabelli scored, Jackson to third, Garciaparra to second. Wendell relieves Mesa. Millar walks, Jackson scored, Garciaparra to third, Merloni to second. Nixon homers to right, Garciaparra, Merloni, Millar and Nixon scored. Mueller singles to left. Kim lines into double play to first.

September 3: David Ortiz homers in consecutive at-bats, including a solo shot in the 10th inning as Boston beats the White Sox 5-4.

September 23: Baltimore leads 5-2, but the Red Sox rally in their final at-bat. Todd Walker belts a 2-strike, 2-out, game-tying home run in the bottom of the 9th and David Ortiz leads off the bottom of the 10th with a solo bomb into the Monster seats. Boston wins 6-5 and the Red Sox clinch the wild card two days later.

Slightly out of order for a reason:

September 4 & 5: Boston beats New York in consecutive games, shelling both Pettitte (2.1IP, 9H, 8R) 9-3 and Clemens (3.1IP, 7H, 7R) 11-0.

September 19 & 21: Boston shuts out Cleveland 2-0 twice in three days. The two games are pitched by Burkett (7 IP, 3H) and Martinez (7IP, 4H, 11K).

Match-ups for the two games in New York: Burkett/Pettitte and Martinez/Clemens.

It can be done. It will be done. Faith.

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