Are you ready to put Game 1 behind you? Good, me too. Moving on to tonight’s Game 2, we have a matchup between Pedro Martinez (0-0, 0.00 ERA, 3Ks) and Allan James Burnett (0-0, 4.42 ERA, 13Ks). I feel good about the Yankee offense breaking out against Pedro tonight, unless the bats continue to pull a “Yankees in their last two trips to the World Series” encore.
I’m reluctant to call tonight a must-win, although trailing 0-2 going into Philly won’t exactly be an ideal situation. Unfortunately Philadelphia taking Game 1 tipped the odds of winning the series significantly in their favor. Prior to last night the Yankees were 60/40 favorites, and now that’s been reversed. However, I’m not going to push the panic button, because I do still feel the Yankees are a better team.
I think it’s also easy for Yankee fans to occasionally lose perspective, myself included. It seems like anytime the Yankee bats scuffle or they take a tough loss, it was the Yankees’ fault, and not, say, the pitcher actually executing and doing a great job.
Additionally, if the Yankees wind up winning the next three and Philly the following two to force a Game 7, we’d all be up in arms because the Yankees couldn’t close the Phillies out when they had a chance. Maybe it’s a good thing for the Yankees to have to finally play with a little bit of urgency this postseason — not that I want to see the team pressing, but the offense has been pretty nonexistent throughout the playoffs despite enjoying mostly comfortable positions in their previous series.
Mike Scioscia and the Angels didn’t exactly sound the alarm after going down 0-2, although they were heading to their home park, so that may have played into it somewhat. Still, it’s important to remember that the Yankees haven’t had to play with their backs against the wall yet this postseason, and have also been stellar at digging their way out of trouble all year. Not that I want this to happen, but I think this Yankee team could back from 0-3 if it had to, provided the bats actually wake up.
In any event, if the team wants to at least give the appearance of staying competitive in this series, they really do need to take tonight’s Game 2 against Pedro, who is arguably the weakest Phillies’ starting pitcher they’ll face in the World Series; otherwise the media and even some of the saner members of the fanbase will start burying them before they even board the bus to Philadelphia.