Work in Sports
Torre's Game 5 moves impact present, future
By Josie Karp, CNNSI.com
OAKLAND, Calif. -- Two moves made by Yankees manager Joe Torre in Game 5 of the Division Series against Oakland could have a big impact on the Yankees' ALCS showdown with Seattle.
By re-inserting Chuck Knoblauch into the lineup after his early-series benching, Torre might have reclaimed a player who appeared lost to the team.
Knoblauch was so distraught after being taken out of the lineup following Game 1, he said he felt he wouldn't be needed for the rest of the series and then acted like it. Knoblauch, who'd been used as the DH in the series opener, stopped taking pregame grounders at second base when the series moved back to New York.
Torre, though, said he had a feeling about Knoblauch. It was probably motivated by the .221 average the Yankees brought into Game 5. And while the manager did not ignore Knoblauch's unprofessionalism, after talking to Knoblauch, Torre went with his gut and put him in the lineup for the first time since Game 1.
Knoblauch responded with two hits in the first inning alone. The Yankees might need Knoblauch's bat against Seattle. What they wouldn't have been able to tolerate was his attitude.
The other move that bears watching is how the starting rotation shapes up after Orlando "El Duque" Hernandez was used in a two-batter, eighth inning relief appearance. It was the starter's first-ever major league appearance in relief and it will likely have an impact on who Torre throws against the Mariners. Hernandez would have been on schedule to start the opener on three days rest had he not made the appearance against Oakland on Sunday.
Judging from how poorly the two Yankee starters who did throw on three days rest performed (Roger Clemens and Andy Pettitte) in the five-game series against the A's, though, that could be a blessing in the disguise for Denny Neagle.