La Russa sees designated edge

Boston pitchers batting, Ortiz fielding may be edge to Cardinals in St. Louis

World Series notebook

Baseball

October 23, 2004|By Joe Christensen | Joe Christensen,SUN STAFF

BOSTON - Even the usually stoic Tony La Russa was having a hard time containing his happiness yesterday when he thought about how the World Series format could help his St. Louis Cardinals.

When the series heads to St. Louis for games 3, 4 and 5 (if necessary), the Cardinals figure to have a distinct advantage, and both teams know it.

With no designated hitter, the Boston Red Sox will move David Ortiz to first base and keep Kevin Millar on the bench.

"Doesn't mean we're not going to win," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said, "but we're not sending our best team out."

Beyond that, the Red Sox pitchers will experience the joy of hitting in a National League ballpark. At least the Cardinals' pitchers have practice looking silly with bats in their hands.

La Russa wouldn't say whom he plans on using as his DH tonight, but it will either be John Mabry or Reggie Sanders, with the other playing left field. Which team benefits the most from these rules? "I was hoping we were the underdogs, so I hate to answer that honestly," La Russa said. "Because I think it's a lot easier for us to add a hitter, and then you get in our park, the pitcher is involved in the game and that's not easy for him."

La Russa was also coy about naming his starting pitching rotation beyond Woody Williams in Game 1.

In some order, he'll likely follow with Matt Morris, Jeff Suppan and Jason Marquis, but La Russa said he needed to confer with pitching coach Dave Duncan.

"We played around a little bit, and we still have some decisions to make," La Russa said. "Everybody will know soon, including the pitchers."

Boston mourns fan

Some of the Red Sox were shaken to learn that a 21-year-old college student died of a head injury while celebrating the team's win over the New York Yankees in Game 7 of the American League Championship Series.

The Red Sox won at Yankee Stadium, and Victoria Snelgrove was killed in a clash between police and a crowd outside Fenway Park. She was shot in the eye by a projectile that was supposed to be non-lethal.

"I'd give back Game 7 to have her back," said Red Sox right fielder Trot Nixon. "We've got the greatest fans, but we'd like them to be a little more responsible, and not be stupid. I had a high school football coach who said, `Act like you've won it before.' And we wish our fans would do that after winning with [the New England Patriots]."

Playing Fenway's quirks

Counting the playoffs, the Red Sox are 58-27 at home this season, compared with 47-40 on the road. They love playing host to an NL team filled with players who are largely unfamiliar with Fenway Park's various quirks.

"We certainly hope they're at a disadvantage," Francona said. "I think the outfielders first come to mind. But it doesn't necessarily come into play."

Asked about the Fenway advantage, La Russa gave a long answer, taking a subtle dig at the Orioles.

"Mostly ... it's the team you're playing against," La Russa said. "I mean, you go to Camden Yards, or you name any of these ballparks that are really fun and special, it has to do with the club you're playing and how well they play against you. So our problem is not Fenway, it's the Red Sox."

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