April 26, 2004

House of Blues. There wasn't much love in Yankee Stadium this weekend. Derek Jeter extended his string of hitless at-bats to a career-worst 25. He's hitting .175 -- which is still better than Bernie Williams, who is in a 2-26 slide and at .167. ... New York (8-11) has a league-worst .217 team batting average and has scored three runs or fewer in 12 of their 19 games. Their longest "streak" of scoring more than four runs is two games. ... The Yankees did not have a lead once this weekend. ... Is it the Curse of Donnie Baseball? ... Beginning Tuesday night, New York will face Tim Hudson, Mark Mulder and Barry Zito.

Howard Bryant, Boston Herald: "[L]et it be known that Derek Jeter and Bernie Williams ... were booed off the stage yesterday at Yankee Stadium. These weren't boos mixed with cheers, the kind that let you know you still have some support out there. These were the kind of boos that said not only are the Yankees letting their insanely privileged fans down, but that no one is immune. ... Torre said he hasn't felt this low since his first year with the Yankees in 1996, when the Orioles made a run at New York."

Sayeth the Post: "'He doesn't know what to do,' a Yankees insider said of Steinbrenner's mind-set. 'He wants to rant and rave and then he doesn't. But hearing Yankee Stadium booing Derek Jeter was too much for him. He wasn't going to New York, but now he is. He is bothered by Derek getting booed.'" That Jeter was booed yesterday moved Steinbrenner to the point where he changed his schedule. He is due to arrive today in Manhattan."

There is a rumor "roaring through baseball" that the Yankees are going to trade Jason Giambi to the A's for Tim Hudson. When told about it, all Hudson could do was laugh: "It's probably somebody from Boston starting it, trying to get turmoil going before we go there." ... Another rumor has the Yankees pursuing Pittsburgh's Kris Benson.

A SoSH thread asks: "Should the MFY be in panic mode?" Most posters said No; some thought the whole idea might offend the mojo gods. But if we don't believe in a curse, we can't (truly) believe in mojo (though it is fun in the game threads). The idea of gloating now actually affecting Boston's chances in September and October is absurd. ... I'd say the Yankees should panic. Yes, it's only April, but they are losing these games and nothing is going right. So let's have some fun:

Tyler Kepner, New York Times: "Almost a month into the season, the Yankees have built a tower of misery. They lost yesterday to Pedro Martinez, capping a dreary weekend at Yankee Stadium in which they batted .152 ... This weekend, the Red Sox were not so much ancient rivals as bystanders to a roadside wreck."

Jack Curry, New York Times: "Martinez has been scrutinized this season because he has not had his usual velocity of about 95 miles an hour and has been throwing a fastball that averages about 89. But Martinez also throws a changeup, a curveball and a cut fastball, and he is extremely savvy. ... He began the game by tossing modest fastballs, but Martinez spotted them so crisply that the Yankees did no damage. Once the Yankees looked for fastballs, Martinez incorporated his breaking pitches ..."

Ian Browne, MLB: "The last time the Red Sox had swept the Yankees, Pedro Martinez started the fun with perhaps the most dominant start of his career. He was magnificent on that night of Sept. 10, 1999, striking out 17 and pitching a one-hitter in the first of a three-game series at Yankee Stadium. Nearly five years later, Martinez was Boston's finisher as they broke out the brooms Sunday afternoon with a 2-0 victory in the Bronx."

John Harper, New York Daily News: "More than anything, you noticed the looks of surprise and even disbelief from the Yankee hitters. As much as any team in baseball could make such a claim, the Yankees have owned Pedro Martinez over the years, even at the height of his dominance. Yesterday they looked as if they'd never seen the guy before. Five times Yankee hitters struck out looking against Pedro, a few times in critical situations, all of them when they were fooled by his curveball or changeup. So much for the notion that Pedro can't dominate without his 96 mph fastball."

Ken Davidoff, Newsday: "There is gloom in the clubhouse, anger in the stands, dread in the front office. To throw Pedro Martinez into that equation, as the Red Sox did yesterday, was like tossing a piano to a drowning man."

Joel Sherman, New York Post: "In the final 23 innings of the Red Sox's three-game sweep, Rodriguez was 5-for-8; the rest of the Yanks were 4-for-68. ... Boston should be bolstered by being more resourceful, poised and emotional than the Yanks. The Red Sox won the past two days despite going 1-for-23 with runners in scoring position, and not even scoring a runner on the lone hit. Torre showed his desperation to win this finale by not only starting Javier Vazquez on short rest, but using his three best relievers to protect a 2-0 deficit after Mariano Rivera (46 pitches), Tom Gordon (30 pitches) and limping Paul Quantrill (16 pitches) all pitched Saturday. ... The Red Sox did walk, run, hit and defend all over the Yanks. Boston left the Yanks looking slow, old and emotionally distant. Heck, even the presence of Martinez did not spark them. This is all great for the Red Sox. The Yankees? Maybe they need to Cowboy Up."

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