After returning to the rotation at the end of 2006 and developing more movement on his fastball, Carmona went 19--8 this season with a 3.06 ERA. He gained a reputation around baseball for his hard sinker and in the clubhouse for his humility. He considers sleeping his favorite pastime and Wal-Mart his preferred shopping experience. "Everything is exactly the same," Carmona says of his approach. "Never once during that hard stretch did I hang my head."
Carmona kept his head up in the ninth inning of Game 2, though the Yankees put the go-ahead run at second base with Rodriguez up as a thick swarm of midges engulfed the field. Like something out of a B horror flick, the flies had distracted Yankees phenom Joba Chamberlain, 22, into easily the worst, wildest inning of his brief career, allowing Cleveland to tie the game at one. But Carmona was lord of the flies, whiffing Rodriguez with the last of his 113 pitches. Cleveland wound up winning in the 11th, 2--1, assuring a beginning of Biblical proportions to Carmona's postseason career.