Joe Torre used a good-luck charm during the Yankees' 1996 World Series run. A friend of his gave him some hot peppers.
Torre took the peppers to wherever the team was playing during the playoffs because -- even though he doesn't consider himself superstitious -- Torre wasn't going to take a chance. By the time the Yankees had won it all, the peppers were "oozing."
Fast-forward to Saturday's game between the Yankees and Red Sox -- Game 2 of baseball's greatest rivalry that will be featured on FOX -- and the Bombers find their record at 8-13. But not even the team's slow start has prompted Torre to break out more peppers.
"Oh no, that's years ago. I eat those now," he said. "No, I'm not looking for any magic potion at this point. I think just plain old baseball and just getting into a good comfort [zone], which is certainly within our capabilities."
First baseman Doug Mientkiewicz doesn't have a personal rabbit's foot -- no gimmicks he performs or horseshoes in his locker. Simply put, Mientkiewicz said the Yankees have been struggling, and if it took a good-luck charm to cure that, he would buy every type known on earth.
"If I had them, I would have been using them by now," he said. "Not for me, but the whole team."
Jeff Karstens tries to turn things around for the Yankees, just one week after the Red Sox had their way with him for seven runs at Fenway Park.
Karstens, who had a couple of quality, if not strong, starts in Spring Training, said his last start doesn't bother him.
"You throw great one time, and the next time out you get hit," he said. "The season is a lot of ups and downs."
The Yankees chose Karstens over Kei Igawa, who was available out of the bullpen on Friday but didn't pitch. Torre said he thought Karstens would perform better in his second start since coming off of the 15-day disabled list.
"Not only the Yankees, but every club I've been with, you're going to go through streaks where things aren't going well," Torre said. "And what gets you through at this point is you've done that before. You've done it before, and [you] know it's going to pass."
The Red Sox send Tim Wakefield to the mound. He is tied for second in the league with four quality starts. That is quite a contrast when compared with how the Yankees' starters have performed thus far.
Is the Yankees' rotation struggling because they don't have a pick-me-up charm? "No" would be the consensus. Karstens instead said it's about turning a 180 to shift momentum in their favor on Saturday. It could be any number of plays, defense, offense or whatever falls in between.
"A home run, a strikeout," Karstens said. "Anything."Pitching matchup
BOS: RHP Tim Wakefield (2-2, 2.08 ERA)
Wakefield simply has been pitching well. Tied for sixth in the American League with a 2.08 ERA, the knuckleballer has allowed just 20 hits in 26 innings. He's holding opponents to a .204 average. But Wakefield dropped his second game on Monday against Toronto, allowing three runs in a 7-3 loss. He struck out five and walked two against the Blue Jays in the losing effort. NYY: RHP Jeff Karstens (0-1, 14.54 ERA)
Karstens goes for the Yankees only one week removed from giving up seven runs in a loss to the Red Sox. The 24-year-old right-hander will be making just his second start of the season. Player to watch
Red Sox left fielder Manny Ramirez crushes the ball at Yankee Stadium. He came into this three-game series with a lifetime .313 batting average with 24 homers and 67 RBIs. It makes sense that in his first at-bat in Game 1, Ramirez lined an Andy Pettitte pitch up the middle for a single. On the Internet
Official game notes On television
FOX On radio
WCBS-AM 880 AM, WQBU-FM 92.7 FM (Espanol) Up next
Sunday: Boston (RHP Julian Tavarez, 0-2, 8.36) at New York (RHP Chien-Ming Wang, 0-1, 5.68), 1:05 p.m. ET
Tuesday: New York (RHP Phil Hughes, 0-1, 8.13) at Texas (RHP Kameron Loe, 1-1, 5.21), 8:05 p.m. ET
Caleb Breakey is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.