The Indians’ starter Fausto Carmona was dominating in this game. The Yankees’ starter Andy Pettitte was simply, flat-out, heroic in this contest. They both deserved to win this game. But, in the end, it came down to the bullpens.
As soon as this game went to extra innings, I thought of “Doug in Seattle.” Thanks to his question last week, we know, that, in “extra innings,” during the regular season, Yankees batters had an OPS of .567 (in 107 PA) and Yankees pitchers allowed an OPS of .845 (in 108 PA).
Why should this game be any different?
Now, about Joba and the bugs. The flying ants were annoying for him in the eighth. Heck, I was getting itchy just watching. But, the bugs didn’t prevent Carmona from pitching a good ninth for Cleveland. And, the bugs didn’t prevent Perez from pitching a good tenth for the Tribe either. If anyone wants to blame the bugs for what happened in the bottom of the eighth, it’s an excuse. Besides, Joba actually got lucky in that frame when the missle from Pronk Hafner was aimed right at Rico Bergman.
Now, here comes the shocker. The Yankees are not dead in this LDS – yet. A win on Sunday gets them to a spot where they probably get to face Paul Byrd in Game Four (on Monday). If the Yankees win Game Three, and then get to face Byrd in Game Four, I like their chances to get back to Cleveland for Game Five.
But, it starts with having to win on Sunday. Clemens better be sharp – and able to go at least six. And, the Yankees bats better come alive when they return to the Bronx – especially their clean-up hitter.