The turning point
Down 0-2, everyone knows what the Braves have to do
Posted: Tuesday October 26, 1999 01:10 PM
By John Donovan, CNN/SI
NEW YORK -- Nobody's fooling themselves here. The Atlanta Braves are down two games to none in the 1999 World Series. Everybody knows what that means.
It means an uncontrollable Yankee Stadium for Game 3 Tuesday night. It means the New York Yankees trying to land the roundhouse that will all but knock out the Braves.
It means trouble, pure and simple, for Atlanta.
"You don't want to go down 3-0 with two more games left here because they are a team that senses the kill," Atlanta third baseman Chipper Jones said Monday. "They're going to pull out all the stops and come at you as hard as they can."
The Series, if you can call it that so far, shifts to New York's famed park looking all too much like throwing meat to the wolves. The Braves couldn't hit in their own park, couldn't field, couldn't put anything together.
And now this: Trying to avoid going down 3-0, a place where no team in the postseason ever has emerged from before, in about as unfriendly a place as is imaginable.
| On The Diamond |
| CNN/SI baseball analyst Ozzie Smith spoke with CNN/SI anchor Vince Cellini after Game 2:|
Vince Cellini: Ozzie, before Game 2 began you don't like to say it was a must-win, but you felt it was a must-win for for the Braves. Now as they head to New York for Game 3, Andy Pettitte has pitched well, 2-0 in the postseason, and is going against Tom Glavine. As a former player, where are the Atlanta Braves right now?
Ozzie Smith: Right now you have to be questioning yourself. Of course they are going to talk about they had a 2-0 lead in 1996 and the Yankees came back, so that's going to be the Braves' rallying point. But it's an uphill battle going into New York with Andy Pettitte throwing as well as he's throwing. And we don't know exactly how well Tom Glavine is going to bounce back from the flu. They've got their work cut out for them.
Vince Cellini: 2-0, it's a nice lead for the Yankees, but the Braves do know they have the safety net in great pitching with Glavine and Smoltz on deck. How do you assess this World Series so far?
Ozzie Smith: I think the one thing that the Braves can hang their hopes on is the fact that they had the lead in 1996 and the Yankees won four straight. So I'm sure that that is the one thing that they are talking about. Their offense right now is sputtering and the big guys in the middle have got to pick it up a little, but they have to get more from the top of the lineup, too.
"It's up to me," Tom Glavine, the Braves' starter for Game 3 said Monday, "to go out there and try to do something to get us back in the Series."
The Braves have been out-pitched and out-managed in the two games, but the emphasis so far has been how badly they have been outhit. They have managed only two hits off the New York starters in Games 1 and 2, have only two extra-base hits in the two games and are batting a miserable .121.
And now the Braves face tough lefty Andy Pettitte, who has been hittable this season but who has the strength of The House That Ruth Built behind him for Game 3.
"Our starting pitching has had a remarkable run in postseason, along with Mariano Rivera at the end," Pettitte said Monday. "It's time to give credit where credit is due. We just have a grind-it-out, don't-give-in pitching staff."
It's not like the Braves don't know what has to be done. They hit only .223 in the National League Championship Series but somehow managed to win that, in six games.
They can only dream of what could happen against the Yanks if they begin to hit.
"I think we have an awful lot of fight left in us," said pitcher Kevin Millwood, rocked as the starter in Game 2. "We're not done until we lose four games."
Yes, they're saying the right things. But nobody's being fooled here. Everyone knows what needs to be done.
| The Sweep |
It's on everybody's minds. A loss in Game 3 for the Braves, and the brooms will be out in force Wednesday.
| Yankee Stadium fans |
They're not Mets' fans. But they have a brand of bombarding opponents all their own.
| Scott Brosius |
Our early MVP candidate is hitting .556 this Series and has a lifetime .500 average in the Series.
| Down -- The shortball: |
Total hits in Series so far: 27. Total number of extra-base hits: 5. Total number of homers: 1. Juice up the ball!
| Down -- Red eyes: |
Think the games in Atlanta were long? Welcome to the DH portion of the program. Talk about Midnight Madness.
| Up -- Yankee Stadium: |
Someone (on the Yankees) was saying Monday it's where the Series should be played. An October palace.
| Down -- TV ratings: |
New Yorkers love this, no doubt. But this isn't exactly edge-of-your-seat stuff so far.
| Down -- Brian Jordan: |
Our Braves' Goat of the Glance goes today to right-fielder Jordan, 0-for-7 when his team needs him the most.
| Everyone loves to talk about must-wins. This, folks, is a muster for the Braves. |
| A North-South difference: Being a Yankee fan is a way of life in New York. |
| To a lot of baseball fans, Yanks-Braves couldn't be any more boring. |
| Yanks' 1.50 ERA in Series. Our take: More bad hitting than good pitching. |
| Here's a look at the Game 3 starters
| Andy Pettitte , Yankees. 14-11, 4.70 ERA in '99. 2-0 in '99 postseason, giving up 15 hits in 14 2/3 innings. |
| Tom Glavine , Braves. 14-11, 4.12 ERA in '99. 2-0 lifetime vs. Yankees with a 1.52 ERA in three starts. |
| Look for Braves to press early and run -- if they get on -- to try to tame crowd and get themselves unhitched. Their postseason lives depend on Game 3. What little life they have left. |
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