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Baseball: AL playoffs

Managers keeping starters a mystery

Both are keeping their options open heading into a second straight ALCS Game 7 between the Yanks and Red Sox.

By MARC TOPKIN
Published October 20, 2004

NEW YORK - So here we are again.

The Red Sox and Yankees in Game 7 of the AL Championship Series at Yankee Stadium.

"We'll see what happens," Yankees manager Joe Torre said.

Last year, the game ended with knuckleballer Tim Wakefield on the mound and Aaron Boone hitting a three-run walkoff homer in the 11th inning.

"It's going to be an exciting game," Boston's Mark Bellhorn said. "It's Game 7, the end of year, and you're playing on adrenaline and not thinking about what hurts. It's who has more heart. Who wants it more."

Neither team was willing to disclose its pitching plans.

Torre said the Yankees had refused to discuss the possibility before Game 6, apparently not wanting to jinx themselves, and as a result weren't prepared to make any announcement.

He said he would discuss the possibilities with pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre and then they would call the pitcher.

The most likely possibilities would be Kevin Brown, who was rather unimpressive in pitching two innings at the start of Game 3 on Saturday, and Javier Vazquez, who was fairly impressive in 41/3 innings of relief behind Brown.

Boston manager Terry Francona said before Tuesday's game that he was planning on using Wakefield. After the game, he told the Fox TV crew it likely would be Derek Lowe. But when asked at his postgame media session, he said they didn't know yet.

"We're going to make some phone calls, too," he said. "I heard Joe's press conference."

If they start Lowe, Wakefield presumably would be available in relief.

That was the situation last year when he came on and gave up the Boone home run that clinched the pennant.

Wakefield insists that he is not haunted by the memory, that what happened then won't have anything to do with what happens now.

"It didn't take me long to get over it," Wakefield said last week. "It's another year. ... That was last year."

The Yankees, obviously, have better memories than the Red Sox of last year's Game 7.

"We won," Derek Jeter said. "And it was probably one of the best games I ever played in: back-and-forth, comebacks, extra innings."

[Last modified October 20, 2004, 01:07:07]


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