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August 27, 2003

by Larry Mahnken

A big loss always feels worse than a run-of-the-mill 5-3 loss, like it counts double. But tonight's loss didn't really expose the Yankees in any way, and it doesn't mean very much about the next two games. Roger Clemens threw a few pitches in bad spots at bad times to good hitters and paid for it. He's just as likely to shut the White Sox out the next time around.

Really, the Yankees were going up against a pitcher that has performed as well as any this season, and needed him to pitch below his current level of performance, while hoping that Clemens could shut down the Sox. Neither of those things happened, and the Yankees didn't get into the White Sox bullpen until late in the game, when it was already decided. In the end, they lost a game they probably should have expected to lose, they just lost it very badly.

Tomorrow, David Wells tries to even the series, going up against Bartolo Colon--a matchup of hefty, sore-backed pitchers. If either pitcher struggles with their back injuries, this game could turn ugly fast. Mike Mussina goes Thursday against either Mark Buehrle or Neal Cotts, a matchup that certainly favors the Yankees.

No matter how the Yanks do in the next two, they will go into Boston this weekend with at least a 3 game lead, and all three games feature pretty good pitching matchups--capped by Sunday's Clemens/Pedro matchup, Rocket's last start ever in Fenway. I am mystified as to why ESPN hasn't moved that to 8:00.