10/25/2003 7:54 PM ET
Notes: Going with what brought 'em
Torre puts Giambi, Soriano back into lineup for Game 6
NEW YORK -- With his team facing a must-win situation in Game 6, Joe Torre has decided to go with the guys who got the Yankees to the World Series in the starting lineup.
By Mark Feinsand / MLB.com
The manager did shake up the batting order, however, leaving Jason Giambi in the No. 6 spot and dropping Alfonso Soriano down to the ninth spot in the lineup.
Soriano was not in the lineup for Game 5, as Torre decided to bench the slumping second baseman, who is hitting just .158 in the World Series. Torre opted to re-insert Soriano for Game 6, though he didn't return him
to his customary leadoff spot.
"My thought process is that I told Sori he'd have the two days off, start fresh on Saturday, and here we are," Torre said. "He's been there for us all year."
"I'm happy," Soriano said. "You only have one life, I'm playing baseball in New York, I'm happy. They're paying me to play baseball, that's great."
The lineup for Game 6 has Derek Jeter leading off, followed by Nick Johnson, Bernie Williams, Hideki Matsui, Jorge Posada, Giambi, Karim Garcia, Aaron Boone and Soriano.
"Jeter, Bernie and Matsui are swinging the bat real well, so it's no embarrassment to have those guys ahead of you," Torre said. "Jeter in the leadoff spot just seems to be the right guy to stir this thing up."
As for batting Soriano ninth, Torre wanted to get him "out of the spotlight," though he admits that after the first time through the lineup, it won't matter.
"Once we get through the first time, he's hitting first, Jeter's hitting second -- no one knows the difference," Torre said.
Giambi also did not start Game 5, though he was originally in the lineup. The first baseman/designated hitter was scratched from the lineup on Thursday, but drilled a pinch-hit home run in the ninth inning in a
Yankees comeback that fell short.
Friday, general manager Brian Cashman revealed that Giambi would undergo diagnostic arthroscopic surgery on his left knee, having been diagnosed with an inflamed tendon and patella tendinitis.
With no DH in the National League ballpark, Giambi was taken out of the lineup because of his injury, but the slugger will be the DH on Saturday night, as well as Sunday, should a Game 7 be necessary.
Torre also said that Boone, who is batting just .150 in the Series, was in the lineup for his glove at third base, as Andy Pettitte induces a lot of ground balls to the left side of the infield.
"Andy gets a lot of those balls that are topped over," Torre said. "(Boone) is still our best defender over there."
Pitching in: Torre will use whatever pitchers he has available for Game 6, but he doesn't include David Wells or Mike Mussina on that list.
Mussina will start Game 7 if the Yankees can win on Saturday, while Wells is still hampered by a bad lower back. Wells left his Game 5 start after just one inning due to back spasms.
"It doesn't look like he's available," said Torre of Wells. "He was off yesterday, and today he's no better."
Roger Clemens, who threw 109 pitches over seven innings of Game 4, will be available for Sunday's game, though Torre wouldn't commit to using the Rocket in Game 6.
"It's going to be our choice with Roger, because he's going to come in ready to pitch," Torre said. "We'll see the game. If we need help, he'll be there."
Torre said that he has no intention to use Mussina in relief on Saturday and start Clemens on three days' rest on Sunday.
"I don't see that," Torre said. "I'd rather do it the other way around, because we have to win Game 7 to win the World Series."
The one pitcher whose limits are unknown is Mariano Rivera, New York's all-world closer. Rivera has pitched just once in the series, saving Game 3 with a two-inning outing. Torre, who used Rivera for three innings in
Game 7 of the ALCS against Boston, said he can't predict how early he would go to him or how long he would leave him in a game.
"Rivera is the guy that we'll get whatever we can out of," Torre said. "Tomorrow will be the same situation."
Bronx cheer: Although the Yankees have an uphill climb ahead of them this weekend, Torre said he was pleased to be playing the final weekend at Yankee Stadium.
"If you're going to be down a game, we'd rather be in Yankee Stadium trying to recover," Torre said. "We won 101 games this year, so we must have won two games in a row sometime during the season."
New York lost three games in a row just five times this season, so snapping its two-game losing streak isn't unfamiliar territory for the Yankees. Torre believes that a Game 6 win will put the pressure on Florida and give his club the momentum heading into the final game of the year.
"If we win this game, momentum changes," Torre said. "It's always on the side of the team that wins. We're up 2-1, everyone is talking this or that, then it's 2-2 and it's, 'uh-oh.' It's a ping-pong ball. If we win this game, the momentum shifts back to us."
"I wouldn't want to be anywhere else," Torre added. "It beats the hell out of sitting at home."
The last time: The Yankees have not hosted Game 6 of the World Series since 1996 -- the first year of the Joe Torre era.
In that series, the Yankees dropped the first two games to the Atlanta Braves in the Bronx. But New York went to Atlanta and took three straight from the Braves, returning home on the verge of capturing its first World Series title in 18 years.
Joe Girardi, Derek Jeter and Bernie Williams had RBI hits in a three-run third inning for the Yankees, giving New York a lead it would never relinquish.
Left-hander Jimmy Key got the start, throwing 5 1/3 innings of one-run ball. Mariano Rivera threw two innings, handing the ball to John Wetteland, who wrapped up the series, winning MVP honors. The Yankees won the game, 3-2, securing the first of four titles under Torre.
Special thanks: Should the Yankees come back to win the final two games of the Series at home, Torre said he would place a call to Angels skipper Mike Scioscia to thank him.
For what, you ask? Scioscia managed the American League to a 7-6 win in the 2003 All-Star Game, giving the Junior Circuit home-field advantage in the Fall Classic. Texas rookie Hank Blalock provided the winning hit, homering against Dodgers closer Eric Gagne in the eighth inning.
"If we win Game 7, I'll have to thank Mike Scioscia," Torre said. "Him and Hank Blalock."
Mark Feinsand is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.