Well, let the blame game begin. Me, personally, I’m blaming Joe Torre. I love the guy, reminds me of my late grandfather. He’s the reason that the Yankees got this far, limping by with one, sometimes two, competent starting pitchers all season. But Red Sox manager, Terry Francona, did what Torre just did not do.
He played games 4, 5, and 6 as if they were the last games.
Which, of course, for the Red Sox, they were. Having won the first three, the Yankees seemed willing to play on tomorrow. There was always the next day. So instead of pulling starting pitchers into relief rotation, like Francona did with Arroyo and Wakefield, Torre let the struggling Tom Gordon and the spooked Mariano Rivera blow two potential saved games. (Rivera, bless him, has been rocked by the Sox ever since the All Star game.) Instead of pulling tired, struggling batters in extra innings with fresh pinch hitters from the bench, Torre lets Tony Clark bat.
Feh. I’m a timid arm-chair coach at best, and the only team I ever watch is the Yankees, so I can’t even attempt to pretend that I know anything about the mechanics of baseball managing. But I do know this, I’ve seen less crucial games where Torre pulled out a lot more stops in order for a win. And when he made some moves in this last game 7, we were already behind 10 to 3. What took him so long to wake up?
Game 4 was ours to lose, and game 5 was well within our grasp. It never should have come to a game 7, and, when it did, the Sox were, far more than the Yanks, ready to win.