C.C. Sabathia is happy he's getting another chance to face the Boston Red Sox.
The Indians ace wasn't his usual self in Cleveland's 10-3 loss to Boston in Game 1 of the American League championship series, giving up eight runs, seven hits and five walks in just 4 1-3 innings. He gave up three consecutive singles in the first inning, then loaded the bases in the four-run third and again in the three-run fifth.
``I was disappointed in the first game in Boston that I wasn't able to keep us in the game. That's something I've been able to do all year,'' said Sabathia, a strong candidate for the AL Cy Young Award after going 19-7 in the regular season.
``I didn't even give us a chance the other day, and that's something that I was definitely disappointed about,'' he said. ``I just didn't make pitches. I didn't execute them when I needed to. I got into some tough situations, and didn't deliver.''
But Sabathia's teammates have gotten him a do-over. The Indians have won the last three games, and the big lefty will take the mound Thursday night knowing he can clinch a trip to the World Series for Cleveland. Josh Beckett will pitch for Boston.
``Everybody is going to be excited,'' Sabathia said Wednesday. ``I've been doing a pretty good job of being able to keep my emotions under control, staying even keel all year. I look to stay calm and stay in control and not try to overthrow and do so much. I think I'll be fine.''
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WHAT'S COOKIN: Colorado's Aaron Cook hasn't started since Aug. 10, but the Rockies are contemplating putting him on their World Series roster.
Cook, the team's opening-day starter, went on the disabled list Aug. 16 with a left oblique strain. He made one rehab start at Triple-A Colorado Springs in September, and when the injury bothered him again, he was shut down for the remainder of the regular season.
Cook was healthy enough to be added to the roster for the NL championship series against Arizona, but the Rockies decided not to include him.
Cook went 8-7 with a 4.12 ERA for the Rockies this season. He had a complete-game win over San Diego on July 25 in which he threw only 74 pitches.
``This will definitely be our toughest decision,'' pitching coach Bob Apodaca said after a team workout Wednesday.
Rockies manager Clint Hurdle would love nothing more than to see how Cook fares in a real-game setting. However, he's going to have to make the decision based on simulated games this week.
``We can't have him throw in a game to hitters,'' Hurdle said. ``That's the best test he needs to have next.''
Cook recently pitched in an instructional league game down in Tucson, Ariz., with mixed results.
``There was some crispness to his pitches,'' Hurdle said. ``And there was some rust. But as far as being physically able to go and no more lasting effects from the injury, we believe he's past that.''
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MANNY BEING MANNY: Leave it to Manny Ramirez to stir things up.
The quirky Red Sox outfielder paused to admire his long solo home run in Game 4 on Tuesday night - Boston's third straight after shots by Kevin Youkilis and David Ortiz. Ramirez often watches his homers, but considering the 451-foot drive to center came when Boston was trailing by five runs, it rubbed a few of the Cleveland Indians the wrong way.
``I guess now I know full well what Manny being Manny means,'' Cleveland reliever Jensen Lewis, who gave up the homer, said after the game.
The Indians won 7-3 to get within one game of the World Series. And on Wednesday, Ramirez insisted he wasn't trying to show anybody up.
``I'm just trying to go have fun,'' he said. ``If somebody strikes me out and shows me up, that's part of the game. I love it. I like that. I like to compete and when people strike me out and they show me up, it's all good. There's no hard feelings.''
Ramirez spent seven-plus seasons in Cleveland, and was part of the Indians' World Series teams in 1995 and 1997.
At least one Indian didn't have a problem with Ramirez posing.
``It's the playoffs, and you've got to enjoy it,'' said outfielder Kenny Lofton, a former teammate of Ramirez. ``If I hit a ball like that, I'd do it, too.''
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KNIGHT MOVES: The playoffs have captured the attention of Texas Tech men's basketball coach Bob Knight, who didn't seem very interested in talking about hoops at the Big 12 media day Wednesday.
Knight, the winningest Division I men's coach with 890 victories, grew up in Ohio and is a close friend of St. Louis manager Tony La Russa.
``The Cardinals are out of it, we've got to root for the (Cleveland) Indians,'' Knight said. ``(Indians manager) Eric Wedge is my next best friend. Anybody got any questions about the American League championship series?''
Knight spent most of his 15 minutes fielding questions about baseball, and deflected the only question about his Red Raiders basketball team.
How important is it for the Indians to win Game 5 on Thursday at Cleveland and not go back to Fenway Park?
``I think it would be damn important,'' Knight said in Kansas City, Mo.
If La Russa leaves the Cardinals, would he consider taking the Kansas City Royals managerial job, which is open?
``I think it will depend on what he thinks would be the best situation for him to have a team that can defend, which might leave the Royals out,'' Knight said.
The Royals have finished last in their division the past four years, while La Russa managed the Cardinals to the 2006 World Series title and to the playoffs in six of the past eight years.
If the Indians advance to the World Series, can they defeat the Colorado Rockies?
``If I knew whether the Indians could beat the Rockies or not, George Bush would be asking me how the hell do you get out of Iraq right now if I was that smart,'' Knight said.
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IMPROVING RATINGS: The TV ratings for the AL championship series continue to grow from game to game. Game 4 drew an 8.2 rating.
Through four games, this year's ALCS has 17 percent higher ratings than last year's series between the Detroit Tigers and Oakland Athletics.
Cleveland beat Boston 7-3 Tuesday night to take a 3-1 lead in the series. The Indians' 4-2 win in Game 3 on Monday night drew a 6.6 rating on Fox.
The Colorado Rockies' four-game sweep of the Arizona Diamondbacks in the NLCS drew an average 2.8 rating for all households and a 3.3 for homes with TBS.

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