One of my homeboys, a Mets fan who holds far more venom for the Yankees than I do, e-mails me asking if I think the Yankees will be feeling the demons of '04 creeping up on them if they lose Game 6. What follows is what I could muster.
The Yankees lost both games because of Girardi, who is apparently a graduate of the Willie Randolph school of pitching management. I've been saying for years that, except for a LOOGY, (and in a BIG spot at that) these managers are crazy for shuttling pitchers in and out during innings like they do. He totally mismanages Joba and Hughes and he's a muppet for trying to squeeze extra outs from his starters.
You can argue whether he should have sent out Burnett for the 7th. But, Girardi's rationale was shyte. He said that Burnett had only thrown 80 pitches through six, so he was good to go. Either he was now spent at 89 pitches (BS), or he preferred that Marte face Figgins and Aybar (more BS). Maybe he didn't want Burnett to go through the order a fourth time (even though that's pretty much why you signed him). But, if Girardi was going to send him out, he should have stuck with him...especially since Figgins was about to give him a free out. You have the option of walking Abreu and taking your chances against Hunter with Burnett, who had the ground ball working, rather than Hughes, with a two run lead and the DP in order.
He also messed up by playing Jeter- who is known to cheat to his left because his range up the middle is weak- so far in the hole against Vlad against a right-handed power pitcher.
Bottom line is, if you send him out there, the inning is his. He's either going to get out of the inning or leave trailing. The perfect example was the top of the inning, when Scioscia took Lackey out after 6-2/3 when Lackey hadn't given up a run. You saw Lackey's reaction...and you saw what happened. It's really too bad that their season didn't end that way, because it would probably have facilitated Lackey's free agency (to Flushing, God willing).
They got all they needed from Burnett, especially after a rocky 1st. Once they got the lead after a long T7, that should have been it. I would have sent out Joba to start the 7th with the lead, but really have no problem quickly pulling him because I think the way the Yankees have handled Joba has made him useless for the playoffs. Joba, Hughes, the LOOGY (you shouldn't be using a LOOGY to pitch to Abreu and to turn Figgins around)...the objective is to get out of the 7th any way possible because, once you get to 6 outs, with the next day off, Mo is in play.
The point of that rant is that they gave away two games, whereas the Red Sox took all four. Even if you see parallels, the Yankees have Pettitte and CC lined up, and the Angels don't exactly have Pedro and Schilling lined up and they don't have Ortiz and Manny steroid-up batting 3 and 4. And, if there were demons, I'm pretty sure CC could eat them.