Game No. 7–Boston Red Sox vs. New York Yankees–2004 ALCS Game Four
With the end of the decade nearing, Sportmeisters Derek and Ryan have decided to present their top ten games of the past decade. Today’s discussion is on the tenth best game from 2000-2009. What follows is a transcript of their discussion.
Sportmeister Derek: Ryan, today we are here to discuss something that will be debated for the next few weeks. With 2010 on the horizon, we are naming our top ten games of the decade.
Sportmeister Ryan: Absolutely Derek, these games will bring an enormous amount of discussion, as it did in just us figuring out our list. We may seem stuck on repeat, but it’s hard not to give the seventh spot to the 2004 ALCS Game Four between the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees.
SD: We all remember, these two teams met in the 2003 ALCS, with the Yankees winning game seven in dramatic fashion. The Yankees would go on to lose the World Series in six games to the Florida Marlins.
SR: As is the case for good teams on the brink of success, they tinker with the formula to get them over the hump. With two free spending teams like Boston and New York, they did that, and then some.
SD: The Yankees acquired Starting Pitchers Javier Vazquez, Kevin Brown, and SS/3B Alex Rodriguez via trade and signed Relief Pitchers Paul Quantrill and Tom Gordon, Outfielders Ruben Sierra, Gary Sheffield and Kenny Lofton, 1B Tony Clark, and IF Miguel Cairo.
SR: It’s funny, but if you remember, the Red Sox initially had the deal to acquire Rodriguez, but the deal fell through. The Yankees ended up swooping in and grabbed the highest paid player in baseball.
SD: After the 2003 debacle, Grady Little was removed for Terry Francona as Manager, and the Red Sox would bring in SP Curt Schilling via trade, and signed RP Keith Foulke and DH/OF Ellis Burks.
SR: Schilling, coming over from the Diamondbacks, gave the Red Sox another formidable arm who had already pitched against New York in a playoff situation.
SD: As is the case, both teams bolstered up during the season as well. The Yankees acquired Starting Pitchers Esteban Loaiza and Tanyon Sturtze via trade and signed 1B John Olerud and OF Shane Spencer.
SR: Boston was also a mover at the trade deadline, bringing in SS Orlando Cabrera, 1B Doug Mientkiewicz, OF Dave Roberts, RP Terry Adams, and RP Mike Myers.
SD: Both teams found success again, with the combination of new players and seasoned vets. The Yankees again won the division with the American League’s best record at 101-61 and the Red Sox again won the Wild Card with a record of 98-64.
SR: In the ALDS, the Yankees then breezed past the Minnesota Twins winning 3-1, while the Red Sox swept the Anaheim Angels.
SD: Once again, these two historical teams would meet to determine who would get to the World Series. The series appeared to be one sided as the Yankees stormed out on top with a 3-0 lead, winning game three in Boston by a crushing 19-8 score.
SR: Right there, 19-8. How does that not destroy any motivation left for Boston? To get crushed, at home, Yankee fans were swooping in for the kill in game four.
SD: No team in MLB history had ever come back from a 3-0 deficit and everyone thought that this series was over and the Yankees would go back to the World Series.
SR: Game four featured Derek Lowe vs. Orlando Hernandez. The Yankees wanted the sweep, while the Red Sox were just hoping to go one more game.
SD: New York took a 2-0 lead before Boston came back, going up 3-2. The Yankees would take a 4-3 lead in the sixth, and held the lead through the ninth.
SR: Boston came in the bottom of the ninth, going heads up against one of the most dominant playoff closers in baseball, Mariano Rivera. He had already taken down the three through six hitters in the eighth inning.
SD: Something must of happened to Mo in the dugout, because he started the ninth by walking Kevin Millar.
SR: Millar was 1-for-2 with a walk up to that point. He wasn’t someone the Yankees needed to pitch around. It ended up giving Boston life.
SD: Millar was pulled for pinch runner Dave Roberts, who promptly stole second on the first pitch.
SR: That play right there had to have been the turning point of the entire series. Roberts took second, putting the tying run in scoring position and removing a double play opportunity.
SD: In one of the few times, Rivera’s armor had been pierced. On the third pitch to Bill Mueller, Mueller smacked it straight up to centerfield, knocking in Roberts and tying the game.
SR: That was Rivera’s fourth blown save of his postseason career. When the Red Sox tied the game, at that moment, they had to have known the momentum was in their favor. Fenway Park was rocking, and the Yankees were reeling.
SD: Rivera ended up getting out of the ninth, and both teams worked a scoreless tenth and eleventh inning. In the twelfth, the Red Sox finally struck back.
SR: Relief Pitcher Paul Quantrill had the unfortunate task of facing the tandem of Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz. It’s no win there, avoid one, get the other. Face one, and you still have the other.
SD: Ramirez singled to left, followed by Big Papi blasting a two run walk off homerun. A walk off Home Run in extra innings between the Yankees and Red Sox, does that sound familiar?
SR: This game ended in dramatic fashion, setting the stage for the Red Sox to go on and complete one of the greatest comebacks in MLB history, as the Red Sox would win the next four in a row, a feat that had never been accomplished up to that point.
SD: This game had it all and that is why we have named it our number seven game of the decade. Stay tuned for the rest of our top ten coming up in the next few weeks. Any questions or concerns, feel free to email us at Derek@Sportmeisters.com or Ryan@Sportmeisters.com .