Work in Sports
El Duque shoulders the load when Yankees need it most
By Mark Morgan, CNNSI.com
NEW YORK -- For Orlando "El Duque" Hernandez, it was another postseason appearance and another impressive win.
On a night when he had far from his best stuff, Hernandez still had enough to beat the Oakland A's 4-2 in Game 3 of the American League Division Series.
"For the first five innings, my control was terrible," said Hernandez. "After the fifth inning, Mr. Torre pulled me aside and told me to stop battling myself, to just pitch my game and, therefore, in the next two innings I was able to do my job and pitch well."
Hernandez walked five, but gave up just two earned runs on four hits in seven innings. He improved his amazing playoff record to 6-0 with an ERA of 1.24.
He has not allowed more than two earned runs in any of his seven postseason starts.
"His pitch count  might have been a little bit high," confessed Yankees manager Joe Torre, "but that's why you watch his pitch count in July, so he has something left in the tank for October."
With his tank still full, Hernandez now has the Yankees on the brink of another trip to the ALCS.