|Matsuzaka vs. Fogg makes for an odd matchup in Game 3|
|Written by Admin|
|Saturday, 27 October 2007 04:17|
Still, anyone who's been watching the postseason knows this: Fogg is the guy baffling batters while Dice-K has struggled to justify his hype.
They'll match up Saturday night in Game 3 at hitter-friendly Coors Field, with the Boston Red Sox holding a 2-0 edge over Fogg and the Colorado Rockies. A big name vs. a no-name - or at least an odd one.
Matsuzaka hopes to quickly figure out how to handle the mile-high altitude in Denver that's caused trouble for so many pitchers through the years.
``Playing catch today and just feeling things out, I felt I might have to work a little harder on my command while I'm here,'' Matsuzaka said Friday through a translator. ``And the one thing that I want to be particularly careful about is leaving the breaking ball up.''
A 30-year-old right-hander born in Massachusetts, Fogg has been on three teams in seven major league seasons. He isn't known for having nasty stuff, but he held his spot in the rotation all season and went 2-0 with a 1.13 ERA in two playoff appearances - one start and one relief outing.
``There weren't that many opportunities for me two years ago. I didn't have a great year coming out of Pittsburgh,'' Fogg said. ``Colorado gave me a chance.''
Fogg went 10-9 with a 4.94 ERA this year, improving his career mark to 60-60 and 4.90. Pretty pedestrian numbers that might not produce a huge payday if he becomes a free agent after the season.
But he proved he can beat Boston back in June, allowing two runs and seven hits over five innings for a 12-2 victory over Curt Schilling at Fenway.
``He's a horse, really. He takes the ball every fifth day. He goes out and gives you those six, seven innings every time,'' Colorado ace Jeff Francis said. ``He gives you a chance to win every time and that's all you can ask for.''
DAD AND ME: Manny Corpas rarely shows emotion and hardly ever rattles, ingredients that make for a good closer.
Friday was different for the Colorado reliever.
After the Rockies' off-day workout before Game 3 of the World Series, Corpas was headed to the airport to pick up his father, Manuel.
``This is his first time in Denver, in the U.S., and of course a World Series,'' Corpas said. ``For me it's a special moment, very important. Most of the season, I'm alone. It's really something having him at my side in a stage like this.''
Manny Corpas, born in Panama, was drafted by the Rockies as a 16-year-old in 1999 and made his major league debut on July 18, 2006. His father hasn't seen him pitch in the majors except on TV.
Benny Quintero, Corpas' agent, said Manuel Corpas had tried three times before to travel from Panama to the United States to watch his son play in the majors, but was rejected each time.
They enlisted the help of U.S. Sen. Ken Salazar of Colorado, who helped Manuel Corpas obtain a tourist visa.
The closer's mother, Florencia, will watch the games from Panama.
``She gets very nervous with planes,'' Corpas said. ``But I'm working on trying to bring here soon, perhaps next year, so she can see me pitch in the majors.''
OLD FRIENDS: This World Series has been a reunion of sorts for Colorado second baseman Kaz Matsui and Red Sox pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka, who were teammates with the Seibu Lions from 1999-2003.
``When he came to the Japanese B League, he was 18 years old. I remember his debut,'' Matsui said through a translator. ``I thought he was a monster.''
The 27-year-old Matsuzaka is five years younger than Matsui and remembers revering the slick-fielding infielder who was a seven-time All-Star in Japan.
``He was always somebody that I respected tremendously,'' Matsuzaka said through a translator. ``And he was someone who I always wanted to follow in his footsteps.''
Matsui came to the majors in 2004 but was a bust with the New York Mets, who traded him to Colorado last summer. He where he resurrected his career with a spectacular season that he has followed up with a sensational postseason.
Matsuzaka made his much anticipated U.S. debut this year and went 15-12 for the Red Sox.
``When we had dinner prior to the season, we just told each other that we should both do our best this year,'' Matsuzaka said.
ROLLING ROYCE: The Red Sox players have already started peppering Royce Clayton with questions about Coors Field.
All of a sudden, the backup infielder has become the resident expert on the park. Clayton spent the 2004 season playing for the Rockies.
``I've talked to guys about playing certain depths and dealing with the altitude, how to prepare for a game and hydration,'' said Clayton, who hit .279 in 146 games with Colorado. ``I tell them how the ballpark plays. But guys will get a feel for it when they get out there.''
Clayton spent most of 2007 with Toronto, but signed a minor league deal with the Red Sox on Aug. 23. He was called up from Triple-A Pawtucket on Sept. 1 and remained with the team through the postseason run.
He said it felt weird walking into the visitor's clubhouse at Coors Field on Friday.
``I have good memories here,'' Clayton said. ``It's a great community and good people. From top to bottom, Colorado is a real class act.''