It’s a little past midnight Central Time, and I just got back to my hotel from Busch Stadium, where the Red Sox beat the Cardinals 4-1 to take a 3-0 Series lead. The Sox got Mike Webber and I tickets, which were way up in the nosebleeds (Section 378, at the very top row). That’s not nearly as bad as it sounds, though, because a) Busch Stadium has great sight lines from pretty much anywhere you sit, and b) the guy in the seat next to me was Al Nipper. Of course, Nipper pitched for the Red Sox back in the ’80s, and he’s currently the organization’s pitching coordinator.
Nipper had coached Cardinals starter Jeff Suppan back when Suppan was a Sox prospect, and told us that Suppan raises his arms higher when he’s throwing a fastball, lower when it’s a curve. Al also talked to me about Tommy Hottovy, my favorite ex-Wichita State Shocker and current Boston pitching prospect. Nipper likes Hottovy a lot; he raved about his maturity and intelligence and said that Hottovy has developed a fantastic pickoff move.
The game itself was a blast. Pedro looked shaky early — the Cards got men in scoring position with less than two outs on multiple occasions, but unusual double plays got the Sox out of both innings. I disagreed with two things in the game: the decision to keep Manny Ramirez in left field in the bottom of the 9th (rather than replace him with Dave Roberts), and the decision to bring in Keith Foulke with a four-run lead. Still, those are minor complaints.
I also have to say that the St. Louis fans were some of the friendliest fans I’ve ever encountered. Even in defeat, they were really gracious to the Red Sox fans in attendance. Nobody actually could tell that Mike and I were Red Sox fans, though — I was wearing a University of Kansas cap, and Mike wore a Reds hat and a K-State jacket.
We’re supposed to have lunch with Brian Gunn later today, and I’ll be sure to report here after Game 4.