The New York Yankees enter tonight's third game of the American League Championship Series in an unfamiliar predicament, a spot they haven't inhabited in quite a few post-seasons.
At 0-3 down, the familiar refrains are "it's all over" and "it's just a matter of time," but the Yankees probably have a better chance at this sort of history than most teams in this hole. Some series have that "impossible" aura. The favorite's ahead, the games have been one-sided, the loser's deflated, and all the rest. There are a few examples, though, which should hearten the Bronx Bombers.
The Yankees were resting comfortably on the other side of this dilemma eight years ago against Boston, and had just trounced the Red Sox 19-8 in Game Three, embarrassing them in front of a disbelieving Fenway Park crowd. The series was over, a grand humiliation. Two razor thin close Sox victories later, a bloodied Curt Schilling was waiting on the mound in Yankee Stadium. In 1999, the New York Mets fell behind the archrival Atlanta Braves 0-3, and the fourth game was a nail-biter which the Mets pulled out late. Then, of course, there was the marathon 15-inning game in which the Mets fell behind in the top of the last inning, before Robin Ventura's grand slam single in the bottom half. The momentum was so prolific, the Mets were within an out of winning Game Six in Atlanta, which would have forced the deciding seventh game.
It's a long-winded way of declaring that one emotional game can instantly turn the tide. Look at the potential outcomes. No one would be surprised if C.C. Sabathia emerged victorious in Game Four. Then, one of the best big-game Yankee pitchers of all time, the unhittable 40 year-old Andy Pettitte, takes the mound in Game Five. Is anybody betting against him? Suddenly, you could be back at a raucous (by then) and probably sold out Yankee Stadium for Game Six - anybody's series.
If the Yankees ever break out of this historic slump, they'll do so with a dramatic, overwhelming display of production, considering the talent in the lineup. It's the other great advantage. All things equal, the Yankees are better than Detroit. It helps to be better when you need four in a row.
Glenn Vallach has been a New York Mets fan since foolishly abandoning the mighty Yankees in his youth after Mickey Mantle retired. Since the fond, fleeting memories of the Tom Seaver, Cleon Jones, Tommie Agee years, he sits quietly yearning for a fraction of the success enjoyed annually by the team that inhabits the borough in which I was born...waiting and hoping...waiting and hoping.
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- · Yahoo! Sports C.C. Sabathia page
- · Yahoo! Sports Andy Pettitte page
- · Tim Brown, Yahoo! Sports, Yankees' struggles leave Joe Girardi between rock and a vacation
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