2003 World Series

4 10 2015

2003 World Series programFor 2002, I started splitting my write-ups into the postseason and the World Series.  Here’s the post for the 2003 World Series.  After going the distance in both 2001 and 2002, the World Series would go nearly a decade without a game 7.  The 2003 World Series was the 100th anniversary of the first series (though only the 99th series, as the game wasn’t played in 1904 or 1994).  It was the first time that home field advantage was determined by the winner of the All-Star game.

World Series:

Marlins at Yankees

The series started in Yankee Stadium thanks to the American League’s victory in the All-Star game in July.  They didn’t capitalize, though, as the Marlins won game 1, 3-2, behind stellar pitching from Brad Penny, Dontrelle Willis and Ugueth Urbina.  Juan Pierre was involved in all 3 runs.

The Yankees evened the series the next day behind Andy Pettitte, who was pulled only after allowing a sole earned run with 2 outs in the 8th.  Hideki Matsui and Alfonso Soriano homered to help Pettitte to the 6-1 victory.

After traveling south to Pro Player Stadium, the Yankees took back home field advantage with a win by the same score.  Josh Beckett held the Yankees to just 1 run through 7 innings, but gave up a double to Derek Jeter in the top of the 8th.  Willis came in to relieve him, but gave up a single to Hideki Matsui to give the Yankees a 2-1 lead.  Aaron Boone and Bernie Williams homered in the 9th to put the game out of reach.

Roger Clemens 2003 WS game 4Game 4 would prove to be the turning point of the series.  For the 3rd straight start, Roger Clemens gave up multiple early runs.  In the first inning, Miguel Cabrera hit a 2-run homer and Derrek Lee added an RBI single.  As he had in those 2 earlier starts, Clemens settled down and ended with a quality start after blanking Florida for the next 6 innings.  This was notable; at the time, it was believed this would be his last career start; he actually got a standing ovation from the Marlin fans.  Of course he wasn’t done; I saw him pitch a few years later for the Astros in Cincinnati, and in fact saw his last MLB game in Yankee Stadium in the 2007 ALDS.

Alex Gonzalez 2003 WS walk off game 4Clemens ended up getting off the hook for the loss.  Carl Pavano held the Yankees to just 1 run over 8 innings, but Urbina blew a save in the 9th, when 38-year old Ruben Sierra tripled home 2 runs.  The Yankees were poised to take a 3-1 series lead.  But they couldn’t get Sierra home, and in the bottom of the 12th Alex Gonzalez hit a walk-off homer to tie the series.

 

The Marlins took advantage of Yankee injuries in game 5.  Jason Giambi played with a leg injury and Soriano was held out for slumping.  Starter David Wells had to leave after 1 inning due to back spasms, and Florida scored 4 runs on Jose Contreras in relief.  They added 2 more and held off a 9th inning Yankee rally to take the game, 6-4.

Having won 2 of 3 at home, the Marlins were 1 game away from their 2nd World Championship.  But they had to win one of the last 2 games in the Bronx.  Skipper Jack McKeon, who had navigated the regular season and playoffs with such a young roster, decided to gamble and put all his cards into game 6.  He went with 23-year old Josh Beckett, who had allowed only 16 hits in 33 postseason innings.  It turned up Aces for Trader Jack.

Josh Beckett 2003 World Series

Andy Pettitte pitched an excellent game, but he gave up 2 runs (1 earned).  That was all Beckett needed; he pitched a complete game shutout, allowing just 7 baserunners.  The Marlins had their 2nd World Series; to date, they still have yet to win a division title!

Miguel Cabrera 2003 WS

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