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REPORT

Yankees Set Up for a Breakdown

October 16, 2003|Bill Shaikin | Times Staff Writer

NEW YORK — In Mariano Rivera, the New York Yankees boast the foremost postseason closer in major league history. Even with their $180-million player payroll, however, they have assembled a corps of setup men so poor that the weakness could prevent the Yankees from advancing to the World Series.

Rivera, usually forced to work two innings rather than one for saves because of the absence of a trusted setup man, never got the save opportunity Wednesday against the Boston Red Sox.

The Yankees led, 6-4, after six innings, but Jose Contreras and Felix Heredia gave up three runs in the seventh, and Jeff Nelson and Gabe White gave up two more in the ninth.

The Boston bullpen, meanwhile, has given up two runs over 28 innings in this American League championship series.

In the Yankees' three victories in the series, Rivera and the New York starters have combined to record 74 of the 81 outs, making a lengthy start by Roger Clemens in tonight's decisive game an apparent necessity for the Yankees.

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Friday October 17, 2003 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 1 inches; 45 words Type of Material: Correction
World Series -- An article in Thursday's Sports section on the American League championship series incorrectly stated that the score of the Milwaukee Braves' Game 7 victory over the New York Yankees in the 1957 World Series was 3-0. In fact, the score was 5-0.

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The Yankees last played a Game 7 at Yankee Stadium in 1957, when the postseason included only the World Series. They lost, 3-0, to the Milwaukee Braves. The Braves' first baseman was Frank Torre, older brother of current Yankee Manager Joe Torre.

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The Red Sox ticket office took a call the other day from a man who said he was Adam Sandler's agent, asking for a few prize tickets to the playoff showdown against the Yankees.

According to the Boston Herald, the man forgot to turn off his caller ID.

So the Red Sox easily determined the call came not from area code 310 but from area code 978 -- that is, not from Sandler's agent in Beverly Hills but someone in Maynard, Mass., a town some 25 miles from Fenway Park.

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