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Live from New York: It's Game Three

NEW YORK -- Keep it here (and keep refreshing your browser) for updates and other nuggets from Game Three of the division series between the Indians and Yankees, which is being played on a 71-degree, breezy night in The House That Ruth Built. (And in answer to Rick's e-mail, you can click on the pictures to get a bigger version).

It's over: Yankees win, 8-4. Game Four Monday at 7:30. Joe Torre lives to manage another day.

Mid-7th: Irish tenor Ronan Tynan singing God Bless America (the long version) with help from 56,000 of his friends. I've seen it several times here -- and during the 2001 postseason, fans were openly weeping and holding up pictures of their deceased relatives from the World Trade Center during the song. Absolute goosebump material. (Here's a clip of him singing at last year's ALDS)

Top-7th: MLB has announced that Game Four, which looks like a good bet for Monday night, will be moved back from 6:07 to 7:37. If there's a Game Five on Wednesday in Cleveland, it's going back from 5:05 to 8:30. Joba Chamberlain is in for fellow rookie Phil Hughes, who pitched 3 2/3 scoreless innings that may have saved the Yankees' season. No bugs in sight here.

Bot-6th: When this place gets rocking, it literally rocks. The press box is shaking from the noise as the Yankees take an 8-3 lead on Robinson Cano's RBI single that turned into a three-run hit when Trot Nixon pathetically booted the ball in right field and let it roll all the way to the wall. That's eight unanswered runs and seven in the last two innings. Slump? What slump?

Damon End-5th: After 2 1/2 games, the Yankees finally found their offense with four runs in the fifth -- or one fewer than they tallied in the first 24 innings of this series! Cano lined an RBI double to the left-field to cut the Cleveland lead to 3-2 and Johnny Damon drove the place bonkers with a towering three-run home run to right to give the Yankees a 5-3 lead and produce a curtain call (left). The Yankees have eight hits through five innings tonight off Jake Westbrook. They had eight hits combined in Games One and Two.

A little lost in all this is the job being done by Hughes in relief of Roger Clemens to keep the Indians' lead from growing no bigger than 3-0. It's reminiscent of what Mike Mussina did when Clemens fell into a 4-0 hole in Game Seven of the 2003 ALCS against Boston.

End-3rd: The Yankees pulled within 3-1 on Damon's RBI single, a run set up when Victor Martinez braincramped and threw Melky Cabrera's topper to third, thinking there was a force there (not the case). Damon followed with his hit to put runners at first and second but, with the crowd roaring, Derek Jeter killed the rally with his second double-play ball and the Yanks' third in three innings. Ouch.

Rocket Top-3rd: After 59 pitches over 2 1/3 innings, Clemens (right) is gone with a strained left hamstring. Many of his pitches were up and that's usually a sign he can't power through his delivery with his legs because of the balky hammy. Sure enough, during Travis Hafner's at-bat that ended with a walk, Clemens got a visit from Torre and trainer Gene Monahan. After striking out Victor Martinez, Torre & Co. revisited the mound and Clemens limped off. There were a few boos but most of the fans gave him a standing ovation as he was replaced by Phil Hughes. Jhonny Peralta delivered Hafner with a two-out double to right and it's 3-0.

End the misery, Roger. You're 45. Go home! What a joke. Normally I don't like to say I told you so, but I told you so today.

TrothrEnd-2nd: Eric Wedge's hunch about Nixon (mentioned near the bottom of this post) certainly paid off. With one out in the top of the second, Nixon lined a home run (left) off the top of the right-field wall to push Cleveland's edge to 2-0. Nixon had not gone deep since July 7. No bitterness from the fans yet. A-Rod got huge cheers during pregame introductions and again when he came to the plate to lead off the bottom of the inning. The place exploded when he crushed Westbrook's full-count fastball for a line-drive single to left-center. The place went dead silent when Jorge Posada grounded into the Yankees' second double play in two innings and Jason Giambi grounded out into the Indians' shift. Still 2-0. But hey, the Yankees have improved their batting average in the series from .121 to .138!!

End-1st: The Indians have a 1-0 lead on Ryan Garko's RBI single up the middle off Clemens, who labored through a 27-pitch inning before he retired the side. Westbrook was much more economical, needing just 11 pitches to set down the Yankees. He benefited from a nifty double play on a Derek Jeter chopper as Jhonny Peralta grabbed it at the bag, with his momentum allowing him to touch the bag and easily flip to first.

Top-1st: If you've never been here, one of the unique things about Yankee Stadium is the "Roll Call" performed by the Bleacher Creatures as soon as the game starts. The folks in deepest right field chant each player's name -- and they don't stop until they're acknowledged with a wave from their hero. It's pretty funny and they just finished their nightly ritual, wrapping it up with a "box seats [stink]" chant. Check out this YouTube video of the roll from a July game. It's a little grainy but the chant comes through fine and you can see the players tipping their gloves to the fans. You might recognize the bald guy leading it as Vinny, one of the fans from the first season of YES' "Ultimate Road Trip" reality show.

--Mike Harrington

(Photos: Associated Press)

Torre responds

NEW YORK -- Joe Torre's pregame meeting with the media was packed, partly because everyone wanted to hear what he had to say about The Boss and partly because the interview room in the bowels of Yankee Stadium is the cumulative size of a few closets. Torre didn't let us down either, expertly dealing with Steinbrenner and deflecting most of the heat.

"It's that time of year," Torre said. "We want a win. Everybody wants a win. I'm not saying you get used to it but it's something you know you have to deal with. ... That's part of what you do here. Is it comfortable at times? No it's not, but that doesn't mean I can let it affect what I need to do. I can't let it influence what my job is."

As expected, Torre has inserted Jason Giambi into the lineup for Game Three to try to do something about getting some offense into the lineup for a team hitting .121 over the first two games. Hideki Matsui, who hit .185 in September and is 0 for 7 in this series, has been dropped to No. 7 in the order and Giambi is sixth.

The Indians are giving veteran Trot Nixon a start in right field largely because of his familiarity and success against Roger Clemens. Nixon is 13 for 35 with three home runs in his career off Clemens. Three Cleveland starters -- Grady Sizemore, Asdrubal Cabrera and Ryan Garko -- have never faced Clemens.

The Yankees have wrapped up batting practice while the Indians are still on the field hitting. The "Yankeeography" episode on the 1996 World Series championship season, the first under Torre, is playing on the video board in right field and the fans are quietly filing in. You can clearly feel the tension, the fear they may be watching the Yankees get swept at home for the first time since the 1980 ALCS against Kansas City. We'll see.

Here's tonight's starting lineups:

Cleveland                               New York

Grady Sizemore, cf              Johnny Damon, cf

Asdrubal Cabrera, 2b           Derek Jeter, ss

Travis Hafner, dh                 Bobby Abreu, rf

Victor Martinez, c                 Alex Rodriguez, 3b

Ryan Garko, 1b                    Jorge Posada, c

Jhonny Peralta, ss              Jason Giambi, 1b

Kenny Lofton, lf                   Hideki Matsui, dh

Trot Nixon, rf                       Robinson Cano, 2b

Casey Blake, 3b                  Melky Cabrera, cf

--------------------------------------------------

Jake Westbrook, p             Roger Clemens, p

---Mike Harrington

Boss to Joe -- Win or Yer Out!

NEW YORK -- The Hackensack (N.J.) Record scored a coup today, getting George Steinbrenner on the phone late Saturday night. And The Boss confirmed to the paper what everyone here surmises as the hours dwindle before Game Three of the division series -- Joe Torre's job rests on the Yankees somehow overcoming the 2-0 deficit they face in this series against the Indians.

"His job is on the line," Steinbrenner said of Torre, who is an incredible 3-12 in his last 15 postseason games starting with the '04 collapse against Boston. "I think we're paying him a lot of money. He's the highest-paid manager in baseball [$7 million per season] so I don't think we'd take him back if we don't win this series."

Should be interesting to hear Torre's reaction during his pregame interview session, which begins at 4:30. You can read the entire interview with Steinbrenner here.

---Mike Harrington

Over and out for Yanks?

Arod CLEVELAND -- There's a lot to stew on if you're a Yankees fan. One loss away from a third straight division series exit, the Bronx Bombers play Game Three against the Indians Sunday night at home. And they better find something in their bats. How can this be happening again, especially to Alex Rodriguez?

The best offense in the game has four runs and eight hits in 20 innings. No one seems like a threat. A-Rod has four strikeouts, including three Friday night against Fausto Carmona. There were few answers in the Yankees clubhouse after Game Two, just the usual cliches about better approaches, seeing more pitches, etc.

Patience sounds like a good idea but panic is more appropriate. Can you imagine what it's going to be like Sunday in the Bronx if the Yankees get swept out of the first round? Forget about A-Rod's option. And probably forget about Joe Torre coming back for 2008.

So Yankees fans, what do you do to fix this mess?

---Mike Harrington

(Photo: A-Rod flips his bat away after his ninth-inning strikeout in Game Two/Associated Press)

Live from the Jake: Tribe-Yanks Game Two

CLEVELAND -- Keep refreshing this thread for updates on Game Two of the division series. For openers: Yankees fan LeBron James is not supposed to be here tonight because the Cavaliers have an intrasquad training camp scrimmage in Akron. James has been getting crushed here on talk radio all day. A couple minutes before the first pitch, fans on the jumbotron got a huge cheer by holding up a pro-Kenny Lofton sign that said "Sorry LeBron, Kenny is King."

It's over after 4 hours, 23 minutes: Nice time for a wireless crash. Anyway, the Tribe won it, 2-1, on Travis Hafner's two-out, bases-loaded single in the bottom of the 11th on a full-count pitch from Luis Vizcaino.

End-10th:  The Indians loaded the bases against Mariano Rivera but Jhonny Peralta struck out to get the Yankees back into the dugout. Grady Sizemore got to first on the 13th pitch of his at-bat as he struck out but reached when the ball got away from Jorge Posada for a passed ball. Posada fired high to first and Sizemore crashed into Doug Mientkiewicz to reach base. Asdrubal Cabrera sacrificed Sizemore to second and Travis Hafner sent him to third on a groundout. Victor Martinez was intentionally walked and Ryan Garko was nicked by a pitch to load the bases and set up Peralta. On to the 11th.

End-9th: Fausto Carmona was unbelievable with 18 groundball outs and five strikeouts. Pitch No. 113 was good for his third K of Alex Rodriguez, ending a nine-pitch at-bat and leaving Bobby Abreu at second. Mariano Rivera -- pitching on the 10th anniversary of the tying home run to Sandy Alomar he gave up here in Game Four of the '97 division series -- pitched a 1-2-3 inning. In the words of former Bisons voice Jim Rosenhaus, who's now working here for the Indians, we're headed for Bonus Baseball. Rafael Perez is coming on for Carmona.

Joba_bugs Bot-8th: Things have gone completely buggy here as the Indians have finally tied the game at 1-1 with a bizarre run off Joba Chamberlain, who needed to get sprayed (left) so he could attempt to pitch. There's all kind of gnats around the plate and the mound and the rookie pitcher is clearly distracted. With TV closeups showing the bugs all over his head and back, Chamberlain walked two, hit a batter and uncorked two wild pitches. The second, with two out, allowed Grady Sizemore to scamper home from third with the tying run as the crowd exploded. Batters, infielders and umpires are constantly waving in front of their faces to get rid of the bugs. Bizarre.

End-7th: Joba rules. How is Chamberlain a rookie? He's just unfair. He came on with runners at first and second and one out. Five pitches later, the inning was over as Franklin Gutierrez flailed at three curveballs and Casey Blake popped an 0-1 pitch into right. The Tribe is pretty snakebit. Cleveland is 1 for 12 with runners in scoring position and Jhonny Peralta's one-out double to dead center off Andy Pettitte stayed in the park because it hit the top of the 19-foot wall. Two feet to the right and we'd be tied. Pettitte threw 92 pitches (58 strikes) in his 6 1/3 innings. The Tribe is in trouble with Chamberlain lined up for the eighth and Mariano Rivera for the ninth.

End-6th: What a job Pettitte is doing. He's still holding a 1-0 lead even though the Yankees have just two hits off Carmona while the Indians have had a leadoff base hit in five of six innings. Grady Sizemore opened the sixth with a triple down the right-field line but an overanxious Asdrubal Cabrera tapped back to the mound and a fist-pumping Pettitte celebrated strikeouts of Travis Hafner and Victor Martinez to get out of the jam. The Indians are just 1 for 10 with runners in scoring position. That won't get it done.

Sheppard_2 End-5th: The Yankees just passed out a release that legendary public-address announcer Bob Sheppard (left), their "Voice of God", will miss the games in the Bronx in this series due to a bronchial infection. Sheppard, who turns 97 next Friday and in his 57th season, will thus have a streak of 121 consecutive postseason games snapped. It began in Game One of the World Series against the Giants -- in 1951!!!! Sheppard will be replaced by longtime backup Jim Hall. Poor guy. How can you possibly replace that voice? It's not going to be the same sitting in the Bronx without hearing Sheppard.

It's still 1-0 despite the fact the Indians have had a leadoff hit in four of the five innings. Lofton (2 for 2) is the only player on either team with two hits and he's 5 for 6 in the series. But Pettitte just picked him off trying to go from second to third (where was he going?) and that was the final out.

End-4th: K-Rod just swung through a 96-mph fastball for strike three. It's still a 1-0 lead for the Yankees but check out what I just stumbled upon: There are nearly 200 comments -- and most aren't too complimentary -- on Cleveland.com's blog discussing LeBron. The Indians are just 1 for 6 with runners in scoring position after scoring eight of their 12 runs in Game One with two out.

Melky Mid-3rd: The Melk Man taketh away and then he giveth. After his big defensive play to end the second, Melky Cabrera drove a 86-mph Fausto Carmona changeup into the Yankees bullpen for a solo home run and a 1-0 lead (right). It's the Yankees' only hit so far and they're just 6 for 40 at the plate in the first 12 innings of the series.

End-2nd: The Lofton lovefest continues. A big standing O when he came to the plate with two out and Jhonny Peralta at first. More cheers when he flailed at a breaking ball and the bat nearly took out Pettitte on the mound. And another huge roar when he singled to left-center after Peralta had stolen second. The cheers quickly went away, however, as Peralta was gunned down at the plate on a perfect one-hop throw from Cabrera. Peralta was his own worst enemy, however, as a replay showed the turn he took around third base sent him somewhere in the direction of Cincinnati.

So it's zip-zip after two. As for the man in the pink hat (see Jon Splett's comment), I have no idea. You'll now note it's neon yellow. No clue.

Mid-2nd: Our first A-Rod update ends in one pitch with a lazy popup to second. Hmmm. A little overanxious perhaps? That's 0 for 3 in this series, 3 for 32 in the last three division series and 4 for 44 --- with no RBIs -- in the postseason since Game Four of the 2004 LCS. Amazing. Carmona walked Hideki Matsui but got out of the inning when Jorge Posada bounced into a double play on a full count.

Mid-1st: There was some concern that Carmona's eight days off would make his sinker flat. Next case. He just blew through the Yankees in order, needing only four minutes and 11 pitches to retire the side. Johnny Damon flew out to left, Derek Jeter swung through an unhittable 96-mph sinker and Bobby Abreu hit a meek tapper back to the mound. The crowd's white rally towels have already gotten a good workout.

---Mike Harrington

(Photos: Associated Press)

Game Two starting lineups

CLEVELAND -- Not much change on the lineup cards for Game Two of the division series. The Yankees flip-flopped Hideki Matsui and Jorge Posada against Cleveland righty Fausto Carmona while the Indians kept left-handed Kenny Lofton in the lineup and inserted Jason Michaels against Andy Pettitte.

        New York                                  Cleveland

  • Johnny Damon, lf                     Grady Sizemore, cf
  • Derek Jeter, ss                        Asdrubal Cabrera, 2b
  • Bobby Abreu, rf                         Travis Hafner, dh
  • Alex Rodriguez, 3b                   Victor Martinez, c
  • Hideki Matsui, dh                     Ryan Garko, 1b
  • Jorge Posada, c                       Jhonny Peralta, ss
  • Robinson Cano, 2b                  Kenny Lofton, lf
  • Melky Cabrera, cf                     Jason Michaels, rf
  • Doug Mientkiewicz, 1b             Casey Blake, 3b
  • ---Mike Harrington

Game Two pregame

CLEVELAND -- The notebook is pretty full as we get set for Game Two of the division series at Jacobs Field, where it's sunny and in the mid-80s. Is this July or October? Anyway, here's a look at some of the pregame chatter:

---Good karma for Yankees fans? In the Bombers' last six trips to the division series, the LOSING team in Game One has won the series every time.

---Indians veteran Kenny Lofton is getting rewarded for his three-hit, four-RBI night in Game One with a start tonight against Andy Pettitte, even though he's just 4 for 29 in his career vs. the Yankees lefty.

"It allows us to break up the right-handers at the bottom of the lineup," Tribe manager Eric Wedge said in his office this afternoon. "We'll see what happens but the fact of the matter is that a guy who steps up like he did last night deserves to be in here."

Jason Michaels, 3 for 8 lifetime against Pettitte, is in right field instead of Franklin Gutierrez.

---Ex-Bison Ryan Garko is blogging for MLB.com and you can check out his posts here.

---If you want to read the transcripts of the pre- and postgame press conferences at the interview room podium, they're available here through ASAP Sports.

---The credential count for the series has exceeded 500. That's a huge number for a division series and it's largely because of the huge numbers of media covering the Yankees, both those from the New York City area and the dozens of representatives from Japan.

---Mike Harrington

Game One postmortems

Cc CLEVELAND -- No way anybody could have expected what happened Thursday as the Indians pounded the Yankees, 12-3, in the opener of the American League Division Series. The Tribe outhit the Yanks, 14-5, got four home runs, four shutout innings from its bullpen and a gritty start from C.C. Sabathia (left), who endured 114 pitches in five innings but was much better than fellow 19-game winner Chien-Ming Wang.

So did Game One change your opinion on the series at all? Will A-Rod ever get another hit in the postseason? What was Jorge Posada thinking when he swung at a 3-0 pitch with the bases loaded in the fifth and the Yankees down a run?

Tribe fans, here's a chance for you to gloat. Yankee fans, you've probably got some things to get off your chest as we head into Game Two Friday night.

---Mike Harrington

(Photo: C.C. Sabathia celebrates his strikeout of Hideki Matsui that left the bases loaded in the fifth/Associated Press)

Live from the Jake: Tribe-Yanks Game One

CLEVELAND -- This is the place to watch during Game One as we'll have updates and some chatter on the opener of the Indians-Yankees series. Refresh this thread for new entries:

Top-9th: It's 12-3 after a Ryan Garko solo homer in the bottom of the eighth. The Jake fans are chanting "Yankees stink" or something like that (figure it out). This one's over. More later.

Top-8th: A fan just got a rousing cheer on the jumbotron for holding up a sign that read "LeBron, it's not too late to change ur (sic) hat."

Bot-6th: The rout is on. It's 11-3 and the crowd is howling "Ken-ny, Ken-ny" as veteran Kenny Lofton's RBI double gives him a 3-for-4 night with four RBIs. Jose Veras is coming on for rookie Ross Ohlendorf, who was taken deep by Travis Hafner with one out in this inning to put the Tribe in double figures.

Wang Bot-5th: Wasn't Chien-Ming Wang vs. C.C. Sabathia supposed to be a pitchers' duel? The Indians have forged a 9-3 lead after a five-run fifth and both starters are gone. Victor Martinez's no-doubt two-run bomb to right-center was followed by Lofton's RBI single to right-center that KO'd Wang (right), who endured his worst outing since an eight-run blowup Aug. 8 vs. Toronto. Casey Blake then dumped a two-run double into the right-field corner off Ohlendorf. The Tribe had 17 runs against the Yankees in six games all season -- but has nine tonight! Sabathia, who threw 114 pitches in five innings, has been replaced by Rafael Perez.

The Yankees got within 4-2 on Robinson Cano's solo homer in the fourth and cut the deficit to a run on Bobby Abreu's RBI double in the fifth. But the Yankees bailed Sabathia out in the fifth -- Jorge Posada swung on a 3-0 pitch with the bases loaded and eventually struck out and Hideki Matsui popped to short on a 2-0 offering. Sabathia stomped off the mound and barked in celebration -- and clearly in anger at plate umpire Bruce Froemming. Jensen Lewis and Aaron Fultz were throwing in the bullpen and now Rafael Perez is up.

Lebron_2 End 3rd: LeBron James (left) is in the house wearing his Yankee cap (his "We Are All Witnesses" poster is on the side of a building down the street). He can't be liking the 4-1 lead the Indians have forged on Asdrubal Cabrera's solo homer to right. Amazing poise for a rookie by Cabrera.

It would be nice if Froemming had a strike zone bigger than a pea. Sabathia has already walked a season-high four and Chien-Ming Wang has walked two. Abreu wanted no part of Sabathia and he had a Randy Johnson-John Kruk moment, bailing out most of the time and grinning after taking a 95-mph fastball up near his head before finally working a walk.

Bot-1st: The Tribe just made Wang work as hard as the Yankees did to Sabathia. With two outs and no on, Hafner walked and Martinez blooped a single to right-center. Ryan Garko then crushed a hanging curve up the middle for an RBI single to tie the game and the place has exploded. Everyone on their feet twirling white rally towels. Pretty cool sight. Jhonny Peralta took a close pitch at 2-2 for a ball, fouled off three full-count offerings, then took ball four to load the bases. Lofton -- in the postseason for the 11th time -- then ripped a two-run single to center but Peralta rounded second too far and was caught off the bag for the third out. It's 3-1 Tribe after one. Wang threw 29 pitches. The inning took 39 minutes. We're in for a long night!

Umps_4 Top-1st: Johnny Damon just led off the game with a homer to right on a 3-1 pitch -- or did he? His drive by the foul pole was ruled foul by RF umpire Jim Wolf but that call was reversed by crew chief Froemming (left) after Joe Torre came out and the umps had a conference. How can other umpires reverse a call from the guy closest to the play? And if the RF ump can't make that call, what's he doing out there anyway? Nice job on the replays by postseason newbie TBS. We saw the umpires, Damon swinging, Damon running the bases. Hey guys: SHOW US THE BALL.

Sabathia walked Abreu and A-Rod but recovered to fan Jorge Posada and get Matsui on a grounder. Only one run but a classic Yankees at-bat -- they forced Sabathia to make 33 pitches and had him on the mound for 18 minutes.

---Mike Harrington

(Photos: Associated Press)

Pregame from the Jake

CLEVELAND -- Filtering through the notebook in the final hour before the first pitch of Game One between the Yankees and Indians:

---Managers have a tough schedule prior to postseason games. Indians skipper Eric Wedge had separate meetings with the broadcast crews from TBS and ESPN Radio more than four hours before gametime. Then came a session in his office with print reporters who regularly cover the Indians (props to the Tribe PR department for inviting yours truly to that session), and then a formal gathering on the interview room podium for the visting and national media.

"It's really the biggest thing that's different," Wedge said.

---I've known Wedge for nearly seven years, since he first came to Buffalo in 2001, and he simply loathes talking about himself. I asked him what kind of emotions he was feeling three hours before the first playoff game of his big-league career but I knew what answer I would get. Which was really no answer.

"The only word that keeps coming to my mind is that I'm excited," he said. "I'm excited to get it going and watch our guys play."

Classic Wedge. He's a great guy who simply wants all the attention on his players and will stay as vanilla as possible to make sure that happens. He was relaxed and joking with us in his office, about his sprouting beard, movies, anything that didn't have much to do with baseball. Question got asked and he went back to Wedge-speak. Cleveland Plain Dealer columnist Terry Pluto did a terrific feature on Wedge in today's editions and no, I'm not recommending it because he quoted me! It's just plain good.

---The Yankees' lineup choice is interesting as they have five left-handed hitters against C.C. Sabathia. Joe Torre is obviously figuring this is going to be a low-scoring game and went for defense behind Chien-Ming Wang with Doug Mientkiewicz at first rather than Jason Giambi.

---Wedge said Ben Francisco was "very close" to making the postseason roster but that he chose Trot Nixon to give him another left-handed bat. Nixon's experience against the Yankees in 2004 with the Red Sox certainly played into the decision as well.

---Mike Harrington

Game One lineups posted

CLEVELAND -- No big surprises in the starting lineups for Game One of the division series between the Indians and Yankees here in Jacobs Field. Joe Torre announced yesterday that Hideki Matsui would DH and Johnny Damon would be in left field. The other main item of note is that Doug Mientkiewicz is at first base and Jason Giambi is out against Cleveland lefty C.C. Sabathia.

So here's the rundown:

New York                                        Cleveland

Johnny Damon, lf                            Grady Sizemore, cf

Derek Jeter, ss                                Asdrubal Cabrera, 2b

Bobby Abreu, rf                                Travis Hafner, dh

Alex Rodriguez, 3b                           Victor Martinez, c

Jorge Posada, c                               Ryan Garko, 1b

Hideki Matsui, dh                              Jhonny Peralta, ss

Robinson Cano, 2b                           Kenny Lofton, lf

Melky Cabrera, cf                              Franklin Gutierrez, rf

Doug Mientkiewicz, 1b                       Casey Blake, 3b

----------------------------------------------------------------------

Chien-Ming Wang, p                          C.C. Sabathia, p

---Mike Harrington

Tribe-Yankees rosters set

CLEVELAND -- The Indians finalized their division series roster this morning and there weren't too many surprises. The most notable ex-Bison inclusion was that of left-hander Aaron Laffey, who the Tribe put on the 25-man list with the idea it could use him out of the bullpen either in long relief or in a situation where a double play is in order because Laffey is a groundball pitcher.

Josh Barfield and Trot Nixon made the roster as reserves off the bench, with Nixon's left-handed bat apparently getting the edge over Ben Francisco. David Dellucci did not make the list as well, as he has been stymied by a torn hamstring since June.

New rules this year allow teams to make injury replacements during a series (either a position player for a position player or a pitcher for a pitcher). So the Tribe will be bringing Francisco, Dellucci, Luis Rivas, Jeremy Sowers and Cliff Lee to New York in case that happens.

The Yankees announced their roster yesterday and the biggest news is that they have no left-handed relievers as Joe Torre opted for rookie Ross Ohlendorf over lefty specialist Ron Villone. Let's see how that plays out in a tight spot against Cleveland batters like Grady Sizemore or Travis Hafner.

---Mike Harrington

Herd vs. the Evil Empire!

Wedge_2In Tuesday's Sports section, we took an in-depth look at the made-in-Buffalo Indians -- a team filled with players, coaches and a manager who were Bisons within the last 10 years. All the Dunn Tire Park-era connections, particularly from the Herd's beloved 2004 International League championship team, makes the Indians-Yankees division series matchup easily the most intriguing one for Western New York baseball fans.

My friend Chris Duncan, the Bisons' ubiquitous radar gun operator at Dunn Tire Park, had the best take on this series. Here's the bottom-line summary he e-mailed to me:

"2004 Bisons vs. the Evil Empire!"

Pretty cool thought.

So tell me this: How do you think Eric Wedge is going to fare in the battle of wits against Joe Torre? And which ex-Bison player are you rooting for the most in this series?

---Mike Harrington

(Photo: Eric Wedge with the Bisons in 2002/Buffalo News files)

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About Inside Pitch

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington, a Canisius College graduate who began his career as a News reporter in 1987, has covered the Buffalo Bisons since 1992 and Major League Baseball since 1995. A member of the Baseball Writers' Association of America, Harrington has reported on more than 30 MLB postseason series — including every game of the World Series in this century — and all three of the Bisons' championship runs in their modern era. He is a connoisseur of the famous Stadium Mustard at Cleveland's Progressive Field.

@BNHarrington | [email protected]


Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz, a native of Lockport, has covered the Bisons for The Buffalo News since 2002. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism/mass communication from St. Bonaventure University and a master’s degree in humanities from the University at Buffalo. An endurance athlete, she has completed several triathlons, half marathons and marathons.

@amymoritz | [email protected]

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