Come back from 0-2? It's been done
History shows that a rebound from brink of elimination possible
BOSTON -- Make it a clean sweep in the first two games of each of the four Division Series.
The Red Sox made it 4-for-4 early Saturday morning with their 6-3 win over the Angels courtesy of Manny Ramirez's walk-off homer in the ninth inning. That gave Boston a commanding 2-0 lead in the best-of-five playoff round, joining Cleveland, Arizona and Colorado, which also won the first two games of their respective series.
Has this ever been done before, all four Division Series standing at 2-0? The answer is yes -- once -- in the first year Division Series play was held, 1995.
That year, Atlanta took the lead over Colorado, Cincinnati was up on the Dodgers, Cleveland led Boston and the Yankees had the advantage on Seattle.
But there is hope for this year's teams down 0-2. One of those teams did rally in 1995 to win its series, and that was the Mariners. After losing the first two games in New York, the scene shifted to the Emerald City for games 3-4-5 (back then, that was the format instead of the 2-2-1 schedule now used).
The Mariners won Game 3, 9-4, then stunned the Yanks with a five-run eighth to win Game 4, 11-8. Game 5 turned out to be a thriller, as the Yanks scored once in the top of the 11th to take a 5-4 lead, only to see the Mariners rally for two in the bottom of the inning to advance to the American League Championship Series.
"Being down 0-2, naturally, it's not a desirable position," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said after Friday night's loss to the Red Sox. "The series isn't wrapped up until one team wins three games. You try to stay short-focused as you can in a series -- pitch to pitch, inning to inning, at-bat to at-bat -- and we really have to get into that mode and scratch and claw our way back into the series. It can be done."
That fact hasn't escaped Red Sox manager Terry Francona, who has espoused a "one game at a time" mentality dating back to the epic 2004 ALCS, when the Red Sox took it one game at a time to rally from a 3-0 deficit to take four straight from the Yankees.
"You know what, I think we'd be silly to ever change our approach of how we play the game," Francona said after Friday's win. "We'll take our day tomorrow and have a nice media thing at two o'clock. Then we'll play Sunday and try to win that game. That's, I think, not the only way, but the best way we know how to do it."
He knows how to do it, and so does Cubs manager Lou Piniella, who finds his team in a 0-2 deficit against Arizona. Piniella was manager of that Seattle team which climbed out of that hole in 1995.
"Look, we're going home," Piniella said after Thursday night's loss to Arizona. "We've got our home fans, and we've got a chance to get it back [Arizona] with a couple wins, and that's exactly what we're going to try to do."
He should know. He authored the blueprint.
Paul Bodi is a regional editor for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.