Sunday, October 7, 2007

Two More or Die

With his manager's job on the line, Roger Clemens went 2.1 innings, looked completely shot and left the game after re-aggravating his hamstring. Yankee-killer Trot Nixon homered off of Clemens in the second, but made a ghastly fielding error in the sixth, assisting Robinson Cano's 3-run base-clearing double. Yankees came from 3-0 down to win their first game of the series.

There were no outlandish post-game celebrations, no overzealous expressions, just spirited relief before the poker faces took hold.

Though Johnny Damon's 3-run homer may turn this series on it's head, Phil Hughes gets the game ball for entering the biggest situation of his young career and pitching 3.2 innings of dazzling ball, striking out four and walking zero. Joba and Mo pitched the final three innings, and shut the door on an 8-4 victory.

Tomorrow night, Chien-Ming Wang is offered something which rarely comes along during a particular postseason: a second chance. After making the mistake during last year's ALDS against Detroit, Joe Torre's learned his lesson and will pitch the Wanger on three days rest Monday night.

In 2006, Torre decided to leave Wang in New York, hoping to extend the series to the deciding fifth game. Instead, the Yankees witnessed Jaret Wright pitch garbage ball for a 2+ innings, and Wang waited for a start that never came. This go-round, Torre wisely passed over an overmatched Mike Mussina.

For Wang, it's redemption time. It will be exciting to see how he responds. Another poor performance would label him "The Goat." A strong outing culminating in a win may leave all forgiven and forgotten.

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