April 23, 2004

Sox In The City. The match-ups for Round II:

Tonight, 7:05 pm: Lowe/Contreras
Saturday, 1:05 pm: Arroyo/Brown
Sunday, 1:05 pm: Pedro/Vazquez or Osborne, but not Leiber

Derek Lowe loves pitching in Yankee Stadium. "I don't know if I'd say that if I didn't play for the Red Sox. ... You know if you go in there as a Boston Red Sox pitcher and you win, you pitched a great game. It's a great feeling to beat them, especially there. ... Once you get out there, it's going to be electric from the time our bus rolls up to Yankee Stadium. Pitching in these games is kind of hard to explain what it's like because it's a feeling. It's not just work. It's a completely different feeling when you step out at Yankee Stadium than any other stadium."

Lowe has posted a 4.33 ERA in 6 games at Yankee Stadium in 2001-03, allowing a .308 batting average in 27 innings. ... In an effort to get back into his regular routine, Lowe threw twice in between starts. "Hitters take extra (batting practice). I needed the work. Last time, I struggled to find a consistent arm slot. I think I figured some things out."

Howard Bryant: "Think about it: Jose Contreras started it all. Think about the battle between Theo Epstein and Brian Cashman back in December 2002, about Epstein buying up all the rooms on Contreras' floor in the hotel in Nicaragua, just to make sure the Yankees couldn't get to him. Remember how the Yankees and Red Sox played musical chairs back then, jousting and elbowing for Bartolo Colon, Kevin Millwood and especially Contreras, the jewel of the three. Think about George Steinbrenner -- after Cashman passed on acquiring Millwood -- threatening to fire his GM if the Red Sox signed Contreras. ... Nearly 18 months later, that $32 million might be the best money the Red Sox never spent. Contreras, for all his frightening velocity and movement, is teetering on the brink of being the biggest Yankees pitching bust since Kenny Rogers. He is, right now, a project, unable to be counted on when these two teams meet."

Monday's New York Times: "Yanks Still Believe Contreras Is Too Good to Be This Bad" ... Newark Star-Ledger: "Wednesday's bullpen session with Contreras went so well that Stottlemyre could barely contain himself. He said he wouldn't get specific, but he spoke in general terms about adjustments -- both mechanical and psychological." The Yankees also believe that Contreras may be tipping his pitches and so Stottlemyre has apparently tweaked Contreras's delivery to remove any advantage Boston may have. ... Also here, here and here. ... And although the Daily News cautioned "Hey, Boston, It's Only April!" after the Red Sox took 3 of 4 last weekend, Joe Torre called New York's lone victory an "important win" and Alex Rodriguez called it "big".

Phil Mushnick, New York Post: During last Saturday's Yankees-Red Sox game, "Michael Kay noted that Gary Sheffield said he was left stunned in right, the night before, by the profanities screamed at him all game by Red Sox fans. Kay then wondered aloud how people can behave so badly in front of kids." ... Kay apparently kept whining about this all weekend long. Is it possible he has no idea that fans at Yankee Stadium also sometimes yell unpleasant things at opposing players, especially outfielders (and especially Red Sox)? If he wasn't so recognizable, I'd love to watch Kay walk around the Stadium tonight (or sit in the bleachers) wearing a Red Sox shirt and cap. I wonder if any people would behave badly and shout profanities.

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