Payback in the Bronx?
Yankees have score to settle with Indians
Posted: Sunday October 04, 1998 08:57 PM
NEW YORK (AP) -- Thank you, Cleveland.
Some Yankees think the Indians are responsible for New York's record-breaking season. The five-game loss in the first round of last year's playoffs motivated the Yankees to work extra hard in the weight rooms last winter.
And that extra urge for revenge figures to be a factor when New York opens the AL championship series against the Indians at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday night.
"We're a year removed from losing to them in the playoffs last year, but I think it's fresh in people's minds," David Cone said after a two-hour workout in a drizzle Sunday. "If we had gotten by Cleveland, maybe we could have gotten to the World Series and we'd be thinking about three in a row. Maybe it's the reason we won 114 games and we're in the position we are in now. Maybe it was a slap in the face."
And believe this: This is not a team that takes a slapping lightly. The Yankees were four outs away from advancing before Sandy Alomar Jr. homered off Mariano Rivera in the eighth inning of Game 4 at Jacobs Field.
"It's hard to forget they beat us last year," Paul O'Neill said. "It's a different year, a different team. There's a lot more at stake. Last year was the first round. This year's a ticket to the World Series."
New York manager Joe Torre is shaking up his rotation slightly, choosing David Wells to open, Cone to pitch Game 2, Andy Pettitte to start Game 3 in Cleveland and Orlando Hernandez to pitch Game 4. If the series extends, Wells would pitch the fifth game, followed by Cone in Game 6 and Pettitte in Game 7.
"Hopefully, it won't go seven." said Pettitte, who pitched the second game in the opening sweep of Texas. "Hopefully, we can take care of business and get out of there."
New York won seven of 11 from Cleveland during the regular season, and broke the AL record for wins set by the Indians team that went 111-43 in 1954. With the three-game sweep of Texas in the first round, the Yankees moved within a game of the record for wins in one year -- regular and postseason -- set by the 1906 Chicago Cubs (118).
"I don't think there's a feeling of revenge," Tino Martinez said. "We just want to do out job. Because they beat us last year? That's history."
Yankees manager Joe Torre decided to move up Cone from Game 3 for two reasons: Cone made only 85 pitches in the rain-shortened clincher Friday night, and Torre wanted Cone to pitch at Yankee Stadium. Since arm surgery in 1996 and 1997, Cone has lost some feeling in his fingers in cold weather, and Torre thinks it will be colder in Cleveland than in New York.
Cone wants revenge more than most Yankees. He started the 1997 postseason opener against the Indians and was pounded for six earned runs and seven hits in 3 1-3 innings in a game New York won 8-6.
"But you can't get caught up in last year," Torre said. "You can't try any harder than you tried."
Notes: Torre has to decide who will take Darryl Strawberry's spot on the active roster. If Scott Brosius shows no sign of being slowed by his sprained left ankle, outfielder Ricky Ledee will be the replacement. If Torre is worried about Brosius, third baseman Mike Lowell would be added to the roster. "It's a regular, old ankle sprain," said Brosius, who tripped over first base when Texas catcher Ivan Rodriguez picked him off Friday night. "It's doing much better today than it was yesterday. Yesterday, there was some stiffness and soreness in it." ... The Indians, who finished off the Red Sox in Boston on Saturday, arrive in New York on Monday.
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