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October 9, 2004

Game Three
by Larry Mahnken

The first thing I saw as I turned on the TV after coming home from work was Jacque Jones rounding the bases after hitting his home run. Well, that wasn't very good.

But, it was only a solo shot, and Shadowboxer Brown got out of the inning without giving up anything else, and I figured that they could score a run off of Silva, and if they didn't they didn't deserve to win anyway.

With two outs in the top of the second I figured that they would make another out and take another shot at it next inning. But they got a base hit... then another... and another... and another... and another. I kept waiting for the out to come, and when it finally did -- when A-Rod decided that he liked being the Inanimate Carbon-Rod and wanted to do something to preserve that nickname, and so popped up -- the Yankees had pushed three runs across and were in control of the game.

Of course, we saw Wednesday that a 3-1 lead ain't that secure, but Kevin Brown pitched very well and kept the Yankees in control until Bernie put the Yankees even more in control with a high homer in the sixth and Matsui put the game away with a super lucky wish shot off of Torii Hunter's glove in the seventh, when he gave way to the bullpen -- and The Run Fairy did his best to give it away. But even though they had to use Rivera, the Yankees came away with an absolutely crucial win, and took control of the series 2-1.

I got some flak in my email for calling last night's game a must-win. Yes, technically it's not a must-win, because it's not an elimination game. But with Santana going today, and having pitched the way he had this year (and really, pretty much always except this spring, but the world just found out this year), I really don't see many scenarios in which the Yankees win today, and most of the ones in which they do involve snipers, unfortunately-placed meteorites or alien abduction (and let's make it clear, I don't want to see the Yankees win that way, so put away your rifle and anal probe).

That's not a jaded viewpoint or an overdramatic one, but one based upon my opinion of Johan Santana, having watched him pitch, marvelled at his numbers, and listened to my friend/boss Aaron Gleeman fawn over him from Minnesota. The Yankees have won a lot of games I didn't expect them too before, and they've done it in unexpected ways, and I know I'm a "bit" of a pessimist about the Yanks, but I just don't see it happening. I'll be giddy if it does, but I'm already looking forward to Game Five.

But I'll still be watching today. It should be a good game.

Also see: Redemption... Sort Of at The Hardball Times.