Do or die for Yankees
By Larry Fine
NEW YORK (Reuters) – It is do or die time for the New York
Yankees and manager Joe Torre says his players will help in any
way possible when their rain-delayed American League Division
Series with the Los Angeles Angels resumes on Sunday.
Los Angeles, who thwarted the Yankees’s bid to reach a
fifth successive World Series by beating them in the 2002
playoffs, put New York on the brink of elimination on Friday
when an 11-7 win gave the Angels a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five
“When you’re up against it like we are right now, we
certainly look for a show of hands and we’ll take whatever help
we can get,” Torre told reporters when asked who would be
available from his $200 million squad in Game Four.
Even starting pitcher Randy Johnson, booed by the Yankee
Stadium crowd after a dismal performance on Friday, may be
called upon after rain forced Saturday’s scheduled game to be
put back 24 hours.
“I think whenever Randy feels physically able to do it,
he’ll jump in there,” Torre said of the tall left-hander who
worked only three innings on Friday.
“He’s done this before where he has volunteered for bullpen
The Yankees had a dugout view of Johnson doing precisely
that in the 2001 World Series.
Four years ago Johnson won Game Six of the Fall Classic for
the Arizona Diamondbacks before bouncing back the next day with
1 1/3 inning of relief for the series-clinching win, his third
victory of the series.
Johnson, 42, won 17 games this season but has not been the
dominant pitcher he was in Arizona.
Shawn Chacon, acquired in a mid-season deal with the
Colorado Rockies, will start for New York against left-hander
Jarrod Washburn on Sunday.
A Yankees win would send the series back to Los Angeles for
a deciding Game Five.
The Angels will start Bartolo Colon against Mike Mussina on
Monday in a rematch of the opening game won by New York.
The Yankees or Angels will play the Chicago White Sox, who
eliminated the World Series champion Boston Red Sox, in the
American League Championship Series.
Angels manager Mike Scioscia said Saturday’s postponement
could work in his team’s favor since his excellent relief corps
would have an extra day to rest after being used extensively in
“This day off is big for us,” Scioscia said.
“We have to be able to shorten a game against the Yankees
and the only way to do that is to have Scot Shields and
(Brendan) Donnelly, and Kelvim Escobar and (Francisco)
Rodriguez where they need to be.”
Scioscia said he was taking nothing for granted.
“This series the momentum will switch pitch-to-pitch and
inning-to-inning and game-to-game. There’s no advantage until
you get that last out squeezed in your glove and you’ve
clinched the series.”