BOSTON -- The Indians didn't pack their bags for Boston on Thursday. To do so would have been to accept the possibility of defeat in Game 5 of the American League Championship Series. And that's a possibility the Indians didn't want to think about on the day of a potential clinch. "We weren't going to the ballpark expecting to lose," manager Eric Wedge said. "We were going to go to the ballpark expecting to win."
Well, we know how that turned out. Looking to vault themselves into the World Series for the first time in a decade, the Indians instead found themselves booking a flight to Beantown after a 7-1 loss to the Red Sox, with Josh Beckett playing the part of their travel agent. When Friday dawned, the members of the Tribe reported back to Jacobs Field, loaded up their gear and boarded an afternoon charter jet. Upon arrival, reporters asked Wedge the inevitable: What is the mood of a club that didn't expect to come back to Fenway Park for a Game 6 matchup between Fausto Carmona and Curt Schilling? The answer was just as inevitable. "We're fine," said Wedge, who did not have his players work out at the park on Friday. "You know, we just had an off night [Thursday]. It's one game, and it's over. Like I said [Thursday] night, you would not expect to win four in a row in this type of series. The fact that we were able to split here prior, then take two out of three at home, you know, we're one win away from where we want to get to." Getting there, of course, won't be easy, now that the Red Sox are back on their home turf. But the Indians, at the least, have a little organizational history on their side. The 1997 ALCS unfolded precisely the way this one has, to this point. The Indians were simply outplayed in a 3-0 loss in Baltimore in Game 1 and staged a late rally to win Game 2 by a 5-4 count, sending the series to The Jake in a split. In the comforts of home, the Indians won Game 3 in 12 innings by a 2-1 count, and took Game 4, 8-7, before dropping a potential clincher in Game 5, 4-2. When the series shifted back to Camden Yards, the Indians took care of business in Game 6, winning a 1-0 thriller in 11 innings, with Tony Fernandez's memorable home run sealing it. Of course, not one member of that '97 team is on this team. And, worse yet, the Red Sox have a roster not completely removed from the '04 club that fell behind, 3-0, to the Yankees in the ALCS, only to rally for four straight wins to send them to a World Series they went on to sweep against the Cardinals.
Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.