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Baseball: AL playoffs

The extra day off could help (or hurt) Brown's preparation

By MARC TOPKIN
Published October 16, 2004

BOSTON - The Yankees knew Kevin Brown was ready to pitch on Friday.

They didn't sound as certain about tonight.

Physically, the extra day of rest should help since Brown has been battling severe back problems and is still recovering from broken bones in his left hand.

But Brown relies heavily on emotion when he pitches, and apparently was worked up into his usual near-frenzy on Friday.

The Yankees' concern, pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre said, is that "now he has to go through that again. "I know he's ready to pitch tonight," Stottlemyre said Friday. "He was, I think, more antsy than anyone else in our clubhouse. He went back and forth. He was very anxious to pitch tonight and was hoping it would happen because he was very prepared."

But overall, Stottlemyre said, the extra rest could turn out to be a good thing.

"I think he'll have the opportunity to go through the night and tomorrow, start all over in getting himself ready and putting his game face on and getting ready to pitch in Game 3," Stottlemyre said. "I don't really think it will have any effect on him at all. In this case it may have a tendency to help him a little bit to where he has one more day since the last time he pitched (Oct. 8 at Minnesota).

"A lot of times that's dangerous and too much rest is not good, but in his case I think it may be a help."

RAINDROPS WERE FALLING: When the decision was made at around 8 p.m. to postpone Friday's game, there was only light rain falling. But MLB executive vice president Sandy Alderson said the forecast for heavy rains later made it unlikely they would be able to get in a complete game.

"Obviously in the postseason when we start a game we want to be able to go nine innings and finish a complete game and not get in to abbreviated games and so forth," Alderson said. "So we really had no window whatsoever."

It was the second straight year an ALCS game was rained out in Boston, with Game 4 of the 2003 ALCS also postponed. That was the first postseason rainout since the opener of the 1996 World Series. If the NLCS is over by Monday, the Yankees-Red Sox game would be moved to 8:19 p.m.

MORE FALLOUT: Sox reliever Mike Timlin said he wasn't too concerned about the weather: "I don't think about rain unless we're in the middle of a drought. I'm not a farmer." ... Yankees outfielder Gary Sheffield didn't think the postponement was a big deal: "I played in Miami with the Marlins. We had rainouts every day."

FATHER'S DAY: Yankees first baseman John Olerud had a pretty good couple days. He hit a two-run homer in Wednesday's game, and became a father for the third time Thursday morning with the birth of his daughter, Jessica Ann.

Olerud was able to spend all of Thursday and Friday morning with his wife and new baby, then came to Boston Friday afternoon. "It was tough to leave," he said.

Still, it has been quite an October for Olerud, who was signed by the Yankees after being released by the last-place Mariners. "Not any script I could have come up with," he said.

MISCELLANY: Today is the one-year anniversary of then-Yankee Aaron Boone's pennant-clinching home run off Boston's Tim Wakefield. ... The Red Sox planned a few slight lineup changes, with Jason Varitek moving up to fifth and Kevin Millar down to seventh. ... Yankees starters have held the Sox to a .118 average - 6-for-51. ... The Yankees have won five straight games, their longest postseason streak since 1999. ... Each of the last seven Yankees-Red Sox postseason games have been decided by three or fewer runs.

[Last modified October 16, 2004, 01:01:20]


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