New York Yankees Manager Joe Torre said he will send Roger Clemens back to the mound in a deciding seventh game against Pedro Martinez if the American League Championship Series goes that far.
Clemens allowed five runs and six hits in two-plus innings in Game 3 on Saturday as the Yankees lost 13-1--their most lopsided postseason defeat ever.
"If there is a seventh game, my plan is still for Roger to pitch," Torre said. "There's no reason to deviate from that."
Torre didn't mince words about what happened on Saturday. "We were embarrassed by what happened yesterday," he said. Neither did Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, who is said to have told his players: "This can happen once, but it can't happen again."
The Yankees surely would like to wrap up the series before facing Martinez--and relying on Clemens--in a possible Game 7.
Martinez allowed three hits, no runs and struck out 12 in seven innings. In his last two appearances against the Yankees, he has allowed one run in 16 innings while striking out 29.
Asked about fearing another matchup with Martinez, Torre said: "The Yankees have won a lot of ballgames. We've had to beat a lot of tough pitchers over the years. If we go into Game 7, we're not dreading Game 7. If somebody beats us and they're better than we were, nice going. We didn't get where we are by fearing someone."
As for Clemens, he had a warning for his former teammates after allowing five runs in two innings.
"I think I know a couple of guys over there in the opposing dugout too well," he said. "I think a couple of them are too comfortable, to be honest with you, against me. I have to make some changes there."
A seemingly simple misunderstanding--when New York Mets Manager Bobby Valentine pulled veteran left fielder Rickey Henderson from Saturday night's game after Henderson had already taken his position in the top of the seventh inning--turned into something bigger yesterday.
While Valentine repeated his apology for the timing of the substitution, and General Manager Steve Phillips tried to play down the incident, Henderson made sure the story would last at least another day by lashing out at teammate Turk Wendell, who had criticized Henderson's behavior Saturday night.
"If he doesn't respect me, that's tough luck," Henderson said before today's Game 5 of the National League Championship Series.
"He wouldn't be in this position [in the postseason] if it weren't for me."
Told that Wendell had called him a "quitter" after Henderson went straight to the clubhouse and changed into street clothes when he was removed, Henderson replied: "I guess Turk doesn't know what kind of person I am. I don't quit on anything. . . . If that's how he feels, he's not a baseball player; he's a front-runner."
Valentine took the blame for the mix-up that kept rookie Melvin Mora on the bench, instead of going into the game for defensive purposes as Valentine had intended. The delay forced Henderson to make a public exit from the game.
Yesterday's dramatic Game 5 had its requisite John Rocker moment. As the Braves' closer left the game in the bottom of the 14th, he answered a shower of boos by yelling an expletive at the crowd above the Braves' dugout.
"Most of the Mets fans, they're not even human," said Rocker, whose brash comments have made him a favorite target of Mets fans. "They're like Neanderthals."
Justice reported from Boston; Sheinin reported from New York.