If the Yanks get a solid start (2 runs or less through six, 3 runs or less through 7) from Wang, Moose, or Pettitte, or if they have a lead after six and give the ball to Farnsworth, or if they lead late and give it to Joba and/or Mo, they simply have to win.
It comes out there.
Understand: Moose pitched 6 1/3 scoreless innings before being lifted (though he was charged with the Rays' lone run), and Joba pitched a scoreless eighth and Mo shook off the previous night with a 1-2-3 ninth. In other words, the pitching was about as good as you could hope for, especially in that little basketball arena they call a baseball field.
The result? A one-run victory. Thanks to contributions by, of all people, Ronbinson Mendoza, er, Cano, and Morgan Ensberg.
Cano did have a sweet none-out over-the-shoulder catch in the ninth, which pretty much sealed the game. Most times, the only way to beat Rivera is to get the lead-off man on, send in a pinch-runner if you need to, then move him around the bases (see Roberts, Dave).
Yeah, yeah, the '98 Yankees won a lot of games by one run. Tell it to the Marines: those Yanks won plenty of games by ten runs as well, and that ain't happening any time soon, not with these guys.
Two other things.
When one of the announcers remarked that the Yankees would not return to Tampa until September, I caught myself feeling relieved. The days of going 14-5 against the Rays are on hold.
But really, outside of White Sox telecasts, has there been a more brutal listening experience than the last three nights? Some yahoo with a cowbell found himself near a microphone, next to a guy with an air horn, next to a kid who yelled, "EAAAAASY OUT!!" every time a Yankee came to bat.
Three nights in a row, without fail:
Yankee batter announced.
A brief flurry of play.
Next Yankee batter announced.
The good news is, they get to go to Shea now.
To face, tomorrow night, Johan Santana.