BOSTON -- Greetings from sunny and warm Fenway Park, where it's 70 degrees and the streets are hopping with activity in anticipation of Game Six of the ALCS, aka Red Sox Comeback II. There is no way -- no way -- these are October conditions and I've got the feeling we're all going to pay the weather piper when we hit Denver next weekend.
Anyway, Curt Schilling is taking the mound tonight just as he did in the Bloody Sock Game in the 2004 ALCS in New York. Same situation. Sox down, 3-2, needing a win to stay alive. We'll see if he's better than he was against the Indians in Game Two of this series. Same for his mound opponent, Cleveland right-hander Fausto Carmona. Neither made it out of the fifth last Saturday, the 13-6, 11-inning win for the Tribe that stretched to 1:37 a.m.
The big pregame news is that Boston manager Terry Francona has given in to public opinion, and made the right call with his own eyes as well, in replacing Coco Crisp in center field with rookie Jacoby Ellsbury. Crisp is just 5 for 31 in the postseason and 3 for 21 in the series. He was 0 for 5 and failed to sacrifice twice in Game Five. Ellsbury hit .353 in 33 games late in the regular season but has had only one postseason at-bat. The Indians have put veteran lefty Trot Nixon in right field against Schilling over Franklin Gutierrez.
Here are tonight's starting lineups:
Grady Sizemore, cf Dustin Pedroia, 2b
Asdrubal Cabrera, 2b Kevin Youkilis, 1b
Travis Hafner, dh David Ortiz, dh
Victor Martinez, c Manny Ramirez, lf
Ryan Garko, 1b Mike Lowell, 3b
Jhonny Peralta, ss J.D. Drew, rf
Kenny Lofton, lf Jason Varitek, c
Trot Nixon, rf Jacoby Ellsbury, cf
Casey Blake, 3b Julio Lugo, ss
Fausto Carmona, p Curt Schilling, p