10/26/2004 11:35 PM ET
How to come back from a 3-0 deficit
Despite uphill climb, World Series isn't over for Cards
By Mark Newman / MLB.com
|The Cards hope Larry Walker's ninth-inning homer in Game 3 will give them the spark they need to come back in the Series. (Al Bello/Getty)
ST. LOUIS -- How to come back from a 3-0 series deficit in 10 easy steps:
1. "Keep the faith."
That is the advice for the Cardinals from Mark Ralston, a Red Sox fan from Olean, N.Y., who watched Boston's 4-1 victory over the Cardinals on Tuesday night at Busch Stadium. "I didn't have a lot of confidence when we were down, 3-0, to the Yankees, but I learned that you can't give up. The way the Cardinals lineup can hit, I'm not positive this is all locked up."
2. Remind yourself that you weren't supposed to be here, anyway.
"There's no pressure at all," Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols said. "There hasn't been pressure on us all year. You guys didn't pick us to win our division. If we go out and lose tomorrow, we still got further than anyone expected."
3. Use the Red Sox as an example.
"It's something you've got to notice," Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said of Boston's historic comeback in the American League Championship Series. "It shows it's possible. I think the one thing I'm absolutely confident about is that we've come too far to give an effort that will embarrass anybody tomorrow. It's really simple, I remember after Boston played, I think maybe before they played the fourth game, I was listening to Terry [Francona] and he said -- you can't say it better than that -- 'All you have to do is win the game. It's hard to do that sometimes. It's hard not to get discouraged' ... But if you're strong, they did it and I know we're strong, so we'll do it. We're going to come out and try to win a game."
4. Grind, baby, grind.
Manny Ramirez was a hero in Game 3 for Boston, and he knows from what his team just accomplished that St. Louis is in a salvageable position. "It is big," he said of the 3-0 lead, "but we learned our lesson against the Yankees. We lost the first three games, and especially against the Cardinals, they've got such a great team that anything can happen out there. You've got to keep grinding it out until you win the game."
5. Get creative.
"Throw Danny Haren," said Cardinals fan Mike Bray of St. Louis. "He's a rookie, and he wouldn't totally realize the magnitude of the situation." Just to make sure, MLB.com checked with Haren, and he seemed to understand the magnitude pretty well. "It's going to take a while for us to get back in it," said Haren, who has been outstanding in rare relief appearances. "Try to make it 3-1, then if you can make it 3-2, see what happens. Those guys over there just proved that it can happen."
6. Pretend this is mid-August.
Jason Marquis will be starting instead of Haren for the Cardinals in Game 4, and he said, "I'm going to approach it like any other start. Execute quality pitches. Stay with my game plan. Take it at-bat by at-bat, inning by inning, game by game. We've won four in a row before, and we can do it again." Johnny Damon said almost those identical words right before they won Game 7 at Yankee Stadium.
7. "Play your [tail] off right now."
That was the advice from former Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda, who was in the crowd Tuesday. "[The Cardinals] have to play it better than they played it in this game or it ain't gonna cut it. They've got their backs to the wall now -- this was a pivotal game, but you never know. They've gotta say, 'Hey, those guys did it to the Yanks, why the [heck] can't we?' That's what [La Russa] has to be telling them now."
8. "Dance with the one what brung ya."
That old adage applies to the Cardinals' lineup. La Russa thought about returning Tony Womack to his customary leadoff spot in Game 3 but went with Edgar Renteria at the top for the fourth consecutive game. La Russa said Womack's shoulder was OK on Tuesday but he thought the matchup with Pedro Martinez warranted Renteria leading off instead. "We've lost three games with [Womack] out of that lineup," La Russa said. "Probably you'll see something different [Wednesday]."
9. "Play a clean game."
"We didn't play a very clean game -- we haven't played a clean game the whole Series," said Cardinals third baseman and cleanup man Scott Rolen, who is hitless in the World Series. "We have to do that [Wednesday]. Personally, I've felt like I've swung the bat better in the World Series than in the previous two series. Nothing to show for it so far, though."
10. Find your inspiration.
Red Sox fan Tom Leone of Atkinson, N.H., said everything changed for Boston in the ALCS "when [Curt] Schilling started Game 6 and pitched the way he did. If you're a teammate, you go to bed that night thinking about what he just did and asking yourself, 'What can I do?' Personally, I've seen too much to take this lead for granted, but the Cardinals have to find that kind of inspiration like Schilling gave us. Then you win the next game, and the next one. I've seen it happen."
Mark Newman is enterprise editor for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.