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All of that seems trivial, however, when Morgan, at the end of his postgame chat with the press, drops a bombshell at 9 p.m. "I'm glad you reminded me," he says when asked about the importance of Clemens's start on Sunday. "I almost forgot—Roger's not pitching tomorrow." What? You forgot?
Clemens has reported tenderness in his famed right shoulder and will be held out until Friday. But can he pitch on Friday? How badly is he hurt? If he can't pitch, it must be bad, right? Could he be done for the year? Shaughnessy dubs the whole episode Sox, Lies and Videotape.
Bolton will replace Clemens on Sunday, which is kind of like replacing Larry Bird with Ed Pinckney to take the big free throws at the end of the game. "I'm not going to risk it," says Morgan. "In his heart, Roger knows it's the right decision." Boddicker defends the decision: "What if he had to leave the game in the second inning, what then? We'll just suck it up without him. I don't want to see him get hurt."
This day's long, wet loss certainly hurts. Boddicker, who goes the first six innings, complains later that the Yankees didn't keep him informed as to when the game would start. "It's ridiculous—it shouldn't happen," he says. "I don't mind waiting all night, but I warmed up three times. I pitched four hours, from 3:30 to 7:30."
It is unfortunate for Boston that he couldn't have pitched longer. The Red Sox lead 2-1 in the seventh when the bullpen takes over: first Rob Murphy, then Andersen, then the world's slowest-working pitcher, reliever Jeff Gray, who yields a ringing two-run triple to Steve Sax to give New York a 4-2 lead. The final is 5-2. Dave Righetti gets the save.
For the final three innings, the man sitting behind the New York dugout wields the sign that reads 1918. He keeps Hashing it at the Red Sox and screaming. Days like this make you wonder about the curse of the Bambino.
SUNDAY, SEPT. 23
Perhaps the second-worst day of the year for the Red Sox. They drop a game out of first with an excruciating 5-4 loss to New York in which they go 1 for 15 with runners in scoring position, including 1 for 5 with runners at third base and less than two outs. Worse, Clemens plays light catch in the bullpen in the fourth inning, makes a few throws, experiences tightness in the shoulder and quits. Dr. Pappas will examine him in Boston on Monday. The chances of Clemens's opening the all-important Toronto series in Fenway on Friday don't look promising. Says Morgan, "He didn't feel good at all."
Neither does Morgan. "We had a million chances today," he says. "We just didn't get it done." In the top of the eighth, with the Yanks ahead 5-3, Green-well triples home Burks. Tying run at third, none out. Eric Plunk strikes out Dwight Evans and Mike Marshall. Pena grounds out to end the inning. The game ends 5-4.