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Notes: Ortiz protection key to order
10/24/2004 8:40 PM ET
BOSTON -- As David Ortiz continues to produce a postseason that figures to hold a special place in baseball history, one increasing issue for the rest of the World Series figures to be the ability the Red Sox have to protect their heavy-hitting DH in the lineup.

After Ortiz's three-run homer in the first inning of Game 1, the Cardinals walked him his next two times at the plate. At least one of those walks was the unintentional-intentional type of free pass.

Sox manager Terry Francona says he will put a great deal of thought each night into who hits fifth, behind Ortiz. In Game 1, it was Kevin Millar. But with Jason Varitek back in the lineup for Sunday's Game 2, Francona moved the switch-hitting catcher into the No. 5 spot.

"The reason we're having Varitek hit fifth, is you can see the way they approached David yesterday," said Francona. "They really needed to have a reason to pitch to him, and if they don't pitch to him, we want to have the optimum lineup. That can change, but tonight, I think Varitek is the best guy to match up with [Matt] Morris."


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Cardinals manager Tony La Russa didn't seem inclined to start walking Ortiz at the rate a lot of teams give Barry Bonds free passes.

"We don't like telling our pitchers they are not good enough to get somebody out," said La Russa. "So we are not telling any of our pitchers they are not good enough to get Ortiz or any of these Red Sox hitters. We're going to compete against everyone we can."

October Foulke hero: Aside from Ortiz, closer Keith Foulke has probably been the most valuable member of the Red Sox this postseason. While it was easy to say that Mark Bellhorn picked Manny Ramirez up with his game-winning homer after the left fielder's two errors allowed the Cardinals to tie Game 1 late, it should not be overlooked what Foulke did.

Following Ramirez's second error in the top of the eighth, the Cardinals had second and third with one out, and the game was tied. After issuing an intentional walk to Albert Pujols to load the bases, Foulke induced Scott Rolen into a popup and struck out Jim Edmonds.

"[Foulke is] a huge, huge weapon for us," said Francona. "He'll take the ball all the time."

In these playoffs, Foulke has not only taken the ball, but he's been dominant with it.

In eight appearances, the closer has worked 10 2/3 innings, giving up no runs while notching 14 strikeouts.

Don't get hurt: Francona isn't too concerned about how much production his pitchers show at the plate when the World Series shifts to St. Louis for the next three games. Instead, he just wants to make sure they don't suffer any injuries while extending body parts that usually don't need to be extended in the DH-only American League.

"The thing I think I worry about more than anything, is the pitcher taking a swing and hurting his rib cage or something like that," said Francona. "If they can get a bunt down to help us and extend that at-bat a little bit, that's probably the biggest thing we can hope for."

   Johnny Damon  /   CF
Born: 11/05/73
Height: 6'2"
Weight: 190 lbs
Bats: L / Throws: L

Atmosphere is everything: Red Sox center fielder Johnny Damon, who fun-lovingly called his team "a bunch of idiots" on the eve of the playoffs, noted how strong a contrast there is in the clubhouse now than when he first joined the team, in Spring Training of 2002.

"The attitude is definitely different," said Damon. "My first day being in the Red Sox clubhouse, it was weird. You know, no one was playing cards, no one was playing video games. No one was really talking to each other. Everyone was on their own.

"But I think you could see some changes gong on my first year, then it got better last year, when we brought Kevin Millar here, and Gabe Kapler. And it's getting better and better. You know, more guys are feeling more comfortable and they are now not afraid to speak up and be a leader."

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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