THE CURSE OF THE
BAMBINO, PART 11 ...
IT'S TIME TO "COWBOY UP"
ALCS, GAME #2
Andy Pettitte is in control
of the Red
October 9, 2003
Cowboy down. The Red Sox are not going to sweep the Yankees and
there's a long way to go before they return to the World Series for
the first time since 1986. Still proud and ever- professional, the
Yankees beat Boston to even the series at a game apiece.
be no sweep in the American League Championship Series. Sox slayer Andy Pettitte
made certain of that as he rebounded from a rocky start and stifled Grady
Little's big guns to propel the Yankees to a series-tying 6-2 victory before
56,295 in the Bronx. Pettitte, a career 13-5 in the regular season against
Boston, restored emotional order in Gotham by defeating the Sox for the second
time in as many ALCS starts against them. Nearly as nasty as he was when he
flummoxed the Sox, 9-2, in Game 4 of the 1999 ALCS, the lefthander surrendered
only two runs on nine hits and a pair of walks over 6 2/3 innings. From there,
one of Boss Steinbrenner's prized off-season trophies, Jose Contreras, held off
the Sox until the ninth, when Mariano Rivera took over and mowed down the side
as the jubilant crowd chanted, "We want Pedro."
unfortunately for the Sox, the baddest dude in the Bronx last night was
Pettitte. The Sox had chances in each of the first two innings to inflict some
serious damage, only to muster a lone run out of the rallies. Pettitte dodged
serious pain largely because the Sox were victims of double plays in each
Kapler opened the game by beating out a grounder in the hole to short, he was
gunned down trying to steal second as Bill Mueller took a third strike. Still,
the Sox responded by loading the bases on singles by Nomar Garciaparra and Manny
Ramirez and a walk to David Ortiz before Pettitte extinguished the threat by
getting Kevin Millar to pop out to short.
crusher came after the Sox seized a 1-0 lead in the second inning on Jason
Varitek's double and a pair of singles by Trot Nixon and Jackson. By then,
Pettitte had surrendered hits or walks to seven of the first nine batters. And
the Sox, with none out and runners at first and second, had a chance to rout
him. But Kapler swung at Pettitte's next pitch, grounding it to Derek Jeter at
short for a double play.
No one fared
better against Pettitte than Varitek, who homered (a solo shot), doubled, and
scored both runs. Garciaparra collected a couple of singles off the lefty, but
he got little help from his mates in the heart of the mighty order.
Derek Lowe was not at his best. While Pettitte left him little margin for error,
Lowe crossed the line as the Yankees tagged him for six runs on seven hits,
three walks, and a hit batsman over 6 2/3 innings. Nick Johnson struck the major
blow, a two-run homer in the second inning. But Scott Sauerbeck did Lowe no
favors by allowing a double to Jorge Posada, the first batter he faced in the
seventh inning, that brought home two runners Sauerbeck inherited from the
sinkerballer. The Yankees scored the two runs just after Varitek's shot gave the
team hope. Sauerbeck, who had not pitched since Sept. 27 at Tampa Bay, misplaced
a sinker to Posada.
So what now,
Red Sox? Will the Sons of Grady return home and resume their monster mashing
ways? Or will they validate those who see them forever destined to come in
second to the New York Yankees? So why should this year be any different? Any
chance this Yankee team will panic against a muscle-flexing Boston team?
Folks in New
England think the Yankees might be a little jumpy. And in the Cowboy Up autumn
of 2003, Boston fans are convinced that this time, the Red Sox really are
different. The Yankees certainly have respect for the Sox. Nineteen
regular-season games (New York won 10) convinced the Yanks that these Sox are
less likely to unravel than some prior Boston editions.