It's not over ... but it's not far from it
Posted: Monday October 19, 1998 03:43 PM
Two games into this World Series, the New York Yankees look more unbeatable than ever.
It's tough to say sweep at this point, even though the Yankees are up 2-0 going into Game 3 Tuesday night in San Diego. But that's what I'm thinking.
I'm sure there is a weakness to this New York Yankees team. But we sure haven't seen it in these first two games. The Yankees are playing better than ever. They're looking like a team that won 114 games in the regular season.
Those first two games in Yankee Stadium showed something that might serve as a warning to the San Diego Padres. A couple of guys who were not in the flow offensively -- Chuck Knoblauch and Tino Martinez -- finally got back into the flow of things.
Over the past month or so, the Yankees had not been the offensive team they had been for most of the season. The Yankees were able to win all those games because they had so many offensive threats.
Now, with Knoblauch hitting .571 in the World Series and Martinez .500 -- Knoblauch had a three-run home run and Martinez a grand slam in Game 1 -- and with designated hitter Chili Davis starting to feel comfortable, the Yankees are back to form.
And that's scary. The way the Yankees are playing now, the way they're pitching and hitting and fielding, they're going to be very tough to beat.
Something else about the Yankees: Joe Torre is doing a super job with the rotation. He's assured his team the best chance of winning by how he's set up his pitching.
David Wells was a no-brainer for Game 1. But, even if he had lost, Torre came back with Orlando Hernandez in Game 2. He's a guy the Padres have never seen before, which is always a difficult task. Now, thanks to the support he got, El Duque got the win and the Yankees have the huge lead in the Series. Now Torre can come back with 20-game winner David Cone.
The Yankees are in pretty good shape.
The Padres aren't completely out of it. All you have to do is look at the Atlanta Braves in the National League Championship Series this year. They were down 0-2 and made a run of it before losing to the Padres.
But Sterling Hitchcock has to throw the game of his life in Game 3 for the Padres to have any chance.
One more potential problem for the Padres: Mistakes.
With everything the Yankees have going for them, the Padres can ill-afford to make the mistakes they made in Game 2. When Ken Caminiti threw away a ground ball in the first inning, it put the Padres in a big hole right away. If you give the Yankees any extra strikes, any extra outs, they'll come back to burn you.
The only way out of it for the Padres? They have to play perfect baseball the rest of the way. It's as simple as that.Ozzie Smith, a 15-time All-Star, is a baseball analyst for CNN/SI, the 24-hour sports news network from CNN and Sports Illustrated. His column appears regularly throughout the postseason, exclusively on CNNSI.com.
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