10/19/2004 9:29 PM ET
Notes: No plans made for Game 7
Torre focused on winning Game 6, going to World Series
By Mark Feinsand / MLB.com
|Joe Torre (right) said Mariano Rivera and the rest of his pitchers, except Game 5 starter Mike Mussina, would be available on Tuesday. (Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
NEW YORK -- The Yankees haven't named a starting pitcher for Game 7 of the American League Championship Series, primarily because they're hoping not to play it.
Manager Joe Torre said before Game 6 that every one of his pitchers other than Game 5 starter Mike Mussina would be available on Tuesday night. That includes Kevin Brown and Javier Vazquez, who would be the two leading candidates to take the ball on Wednesday night.
"We're 'all hands on deck' tonight," Torre said. "We're going to try to win this game. We'll do whatever we can to win this game. We don't have a plan. We'll plan as we go along."
"All of my thoughts are on Game 6," said pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre. "I don't have any thoughts on Game 7. If that happens, we'll figure it out."
Brown, who started Game 3, was almost used in relief on Monday night in Boston, but the Red Sox pulled out a win in the 14th inning against Esteban Loaiza.
"Brownie was the next one out there last night. He was already spiked up and fingering the baseball," Torre said. "The only one who was going to be a no-go yesterday was [Jon] Lieber, who we finally got out on an 8 p.m. [ET] flight."
That's because Lieber is pitching Game 6, and after playing 26 innings over the past two games, New York needed its starter to give it some serious length. If the Yankees can win on Tuesday, they will have three days to recover before the World Series.
"I have dinner reservations tomorrow night," Torre said.
Not rested, but ready: Mariano Rivera has thrown four innings in the past two days, but the Yankees' closer will be available to his team should the situation present itself.
Rivera has been charged with blown saves in each of the past two games, the first time that has happened in his postseason career. His blown save in Game 4 was his own doing, but in Game 5, he came in with a one-run lead, runners on first and third with no outs, after Tom Gordon allowed a walk and a single.
Rivera got the next three batters out, but Jason Varitek's sac fly to center scored the tying run, accounting for the blown save.
"I guess that's a blown save for him, right?" Torre said. "He did a [heck] of a job. I'll take that blown save any day of the week. We felt if someone would restore order there, it would be him."
"He's fine for tonight. He's available," said Stottlemyre. "He felt fine yesterday, and the day before was pretty taxing. He threw 22 pitches yesterday, which is just a day's work for him. The 40 the day before was a lot. It would worry me more if I told you he wasn't available."
After losing a one-run lead in the ninth in Game 4 and a two-run lead in the eighth in Game 5, Torre hopes that Game 6 can be the one in which they close it out.
"Hopefully, if we keep practicing getting to the late innings with a lead, we'll be able to shut the deal," Torre said. "Two games in a row, we've been in the position we wanted to be in."
Quantrill OK: Paul Quantrill's sore right ankle won't be a problem if the Yankees need him to take the ball on Tuesday, even though he was forced to leave Game 5 with an injury.
Quantrill tripped around the area in front of home plate where the grass meets the dirt while trying to field a bunt in the 11th inning. He was removed for Loaiza, but Torre said that after a night of treatment, Quantrill is ready to go.
"He answered my question directly today, which he didn't do last night," Torre said. "Last night, I asked him if it hurt, and he said, 'I'm all right.' Today, I asked him if he was hurt, and he said, 'No.' We got a good answer today."
Olerud out: John Olerud is out for the remainder of the ALCS with a bruised left instep, and his status for the World Series is still in question.
The first baseman was sent for more tests on his foot on Tuesday, after X-rays earlier in the week showed no damage.
Olerud is moving around on his own, though he is still using crutches for long walks. In his absence, Tony Clark started at first for a third consecutive game.
Repeat performance? Mike Mussina, who got a no-decision despite leaving Game 5 with a 4-2 lead in the seventh inning, said he wasn't sure whether or not he would be able to give the Yankees any relief innings if the series went to Game 7.
Last year, Mussina tossed three shutout innings in the deciding game of the ALCS, but he had two days off between his Game 4 start and the series finale. When asked if he would be able to take the ball on Wednesday after throwing 105 pitches on Monday, Mussina seemed unsure of what his status would be.
"It wasn't on the second day [last year]," he said. "I don't know."
Impressive Esteban: Despite taking the loss in Game 5, Loaiza impressed both his manager and his pitching coach, tossing 3 1/3 innings of one-run relief.
"He was dynamite," Torre said. "That was the best he's pitched since we got him, not only the results, but he had a good look about him."
Loaiza got a big double play to end the 11th when he entered the game, then held the Red Sox scoreless in the 12th and 13th. A one-out walk to Johnny Damon and two-out walk to Manny Ramirez forced him to pitch to David Ortiz, who punched a bloop single to center, ending the game and extending the series.
"He pitched great," Stottlemyre said. "I was surprised that his command was really good, even on the pitch that [Ortiz] hit. You have to give him credit for fighting it off and hitting it."
"He pitched his [read end] off to Manny and Ortiz," Torre said. "He made a good pitch to Ortiz, but unfortunately, he's stronger than most people and he blooped it in. I was very pleased with the way he pitched."
Mark Feinsand is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.