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October 19, 2004

by Larry Mahnken

This is excruciating. If George Steinbrenner knows what's good for his team, he'll tell the grounds crew to slack off this afternoon so the field will be unplayable tonight, regardless of how much it rains. Yeah, that gets Boston's bullpen off the ropes, but the Yankees are wholly lacking a bullpen right now. Rivera is out, Gordon is out, Sturtze is probably no good for more than an inning, Quantrill is hurt. Loazia's out, for what it's worth, but I think he used up all his magic dust last night. Heredia sucks.

Lieber needs to pitch at least seven or eight innings tonight, and they really, really need to get to Curt Schilling. I don't mean knock him out of the game early -- I have no faith in their ability to get to Boston's relievers anymore -- but rather, beat the crap out of him, score six or seven runs.

If the Yankees lose tonight because they blow the lead in the eighth or ninth, Joe Torre should be fired. Even if they win the series. He wasted his bullpen on a game they didn't need to win on Sunday, he should have put Loaiza into Game Four and saved Gordon, he should have saved Rivera for the ninth. If they lost, they were up 3-1, but they'd still have Rivera and Gordon at more or less full strength. Torre's managed like these games were must-win, and that the consequences of losing were worth it. Now he's paying for it.

All the joy has gone out of this series.