Girardi wins battle of managerial wits
From pitching changes to baserunning decisions, Manuel's Game 2 moves backfire
NEW YORK -- Players make the difference in late October. In the World Series opener, the storyline revolved around Cliff Lee's masterful pitching and Chase Utley's power. In Game 2, A.J. Burnett performed like an $82.5 million guy and Mark Teixeira and Hideki Matsui provided the offense with solo home runs.
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AMY K. NELSON ON PEDRO'S NIGHT
[Rivera] has been doing it for a long time. ... [Pitching him two innings] is not something we like to do during the season, because we think it's important to keep him healthy for the long run. But it can be real effective for us.” -- Yankees manager Joe Girardi
• After Girardi determined that Burnett had done his part by throwing 108 pitches over seven innings, the question was, where would he turn next? With Phil Hughes in a funk, Joba Chamberlain no sure thing and an off-day scheduled for Friday, Girardi didn't hesitate. He summoned Rivera, and the closer's "Enter Sandman'' anthem echoed throughout the park in the top of the eighth.Six outs and 39 pitches later, Rivera had recorded career postseason save No. 38. "Mo has been doing it for a long time,'' Girardi said. "Even in 1996 when I caught him and he was a setup guy, he would go more than two innings at a time. It's not something we like to do during the season, because we think it's important to keep him healthy for the long run. But it can be real effective for us.'' For the record, Rivera recorded one two-inning save all season, against Minnesota on May 16. His single-game high for pitches thrown was 32 against the Mets in the infamous Luis Castillo dropped popfly game in June. But Rivera pitched more than an inning four times against the Twins and Angels in the playoffs, and he's a world removed from the pampered, three-outs-and-hit-the-food-spread fraternity. Some observers think that Rivera has lost a little zip on his cut fastball as the postseason has progressed, but his career postseason ERA is now 0.76. That's not quite as pristine as John Blutarsky's Faber College GPA, but the Yankees will never complain. "He's special,'' Jeter said of Rivera. "That's the only way you can say it. Nobody does it better, and nobody's done what he's done. I can't answer it. Maybe he might be able to answer it.'' For Jeter, Rivera, Girardi and the rest of the Yankees, the most important answer appeared in fluorescent bulbs on the stadium scoreboard late Thursday night. The final score was enough to give New York's traveling party a feeling of sustenance and hope as the World Series shifts to Philadelphia for the next chapter this weekend. Jerry Crasnick covers baseball for ESPN.com. His book "License To Deal" was published by Rodale. Click here to order a copy. Jerry can be reached via e-mail.
WORLD SERIES GAME 2: YANKEES 3, PHILLIES 1
Pedro Martinez was good, but A.J. Burnett was better in Game 2 as the Yankees evened up the World Series at one apiece. World Series page »