6-0 there in postseason, Cards glad to be home

Suppan has chance to get back at old team tonight


World Series

October 26, 2004|By Joe Christensen | Joe Christensen,SUN STAFF

ST. LOUIS - Home at last.

After dropping the first two games of the World Series in disturbing fashion, the St. Louis Cardinals finally get a chance tonight to face the Boston Red Sox at Busch Stadium, where they hope their fortunes will be significantly better.

The Cardinals had the most wins in baseball this season, with 105, and they also had the best home record in the National League at 53-28.

In the postseason, St. Louis has gone 6-0 at home, compared with 1-6 on the road.

"I think it's a big edge," said Cardinals manager Tony La Russa. "We just came from Fenway Park. We were in Minute Maid, where the fans were helping the Astros. There's no doubt that the home crowd being excited pumps up the home team. It gives you an edge."

The Cardinals will need it, as they try to end Boston's six-game winning streak.

St. Louis has lost eight straight road games in World Series play, including all four in the 1987 Series against the Minnesota Twins. In that one, as in the recently completed National League Championship Series against Houston, the home team won every game.

Suppan vs. Martinez

Pedro Martinez makes his first career World Series start tonight for the Red Sox, and the Cardinals will counter with Jeff Suppan, a former Boston castoff.

Suppan was actually drafted and signed by the Red Sox in 1993. After winning 39 games in four years with the Kansas City Royals, he returned to Boston in a trade last year but had shoulder problems, so the Red Sox left him off their roster for the first round of the playoffs.

He was on the roster for their American League Championship Series loss against the New York Yankees, but he didn't pitch. He signed as a free agent with the Cardinals last winter, and had a career year, going 16-9 with a 4.16 ERA.

In three postseason starts, including Game 7 of the NLCS, he is 2-1 with a 2.84 ERA.

Asked whether his time with the Red Sox last year will help him tonight, Suppan said, "I hope so."

But beware of Manny Ramirez, who is 7-for-19 lifetime against Suppan, with three home runs.

Cards' Big 3 struggling

The Cardinals never expected to reach this point of the Series with their three NL Most Valuable Player candidates - Albert Pujols, Scott Rolen and Jim Edmonds - sitting with a combined one RBI.

In the first two rounds of the postseason, those three combined to hit 12 home runs and 29 drive in 29 runs. La Russa hopes that turns around tonight, but against Martinez, it could be tough, he acknowledged.

"If he's sharp, I don't care which of our hitters go up there, it's going to be tough to center the ball [with the bat]."

Ratings winner

Boston's 6-2 victory Sunday got a 15.9 fast national rating and 24 share, the highest-rated Game 2 since the Atlanta Braves' 4-3 victory over the Cleveland Indians in 1995 got a 19.4/31.

Boston's 11-9 win in Saturday's opener got a 13.7 fast national rating, the highest for an opener since a 14.2/26 for Game 1 in 1999 between the Yankees and Atlanta.

The rating is the percentage of television households tuned to a telecast, and the share is the percentage tuned to a telecast among those households with televisions on at the time.

Around the horn

Jason Marquis pitched an inning of scoreless relief for the Cardinals in Game 2, but La Russa said Marquis will still start Game 4 tomorrow. ... In the first two games, Cardinals starters Woody Williams and Matt Morris combined to allow 11 runs and 12 hits in 6 2/3 innings. Both of them took losses. ... The St. Louis staff has combined to walk 14 in the two games.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

Cardinals vs. Red Sox

Best of seven; *-if necessary

Red Sox lead series 2-0

Game 1: Boston, 11-9

Game 2: Boston, 6-2

Today: Boston (Martinez 16-9) at St. Louis (Suppan 16-9), 8:30 p.m.

Tomorrow: Boston (Lowe 14-12) at St. Louis (Marquis 15-7), 8:25 p.m.

*Thursday: Boston at St. Louis, 8:25 p.m.

*Saturday: St. Louis at Boston, 7:55 p.m.

*Sunday: at Boston, 7:55 p.m. TV: Chs. 45, 5

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