Make no mistake, Game Two of this 2009 World Series was a must win game for the New York Yankees.
After the defending champs, led by a miraculous and composed Cliff Lee disposed of the Yankees and their ace C.C. Sabathia with ease in Game One they were on the brink of the point of no return already.
Instead, A.J. Burnett and his mascot catcher Jose Molina went out for the Yankees and threw seven innings of gems allowing only a few scattered hits, a lone run and striking out 9. Molina justified his mascot presence not only by Burnett's performance but additionally by picking off Jason Werth in the 4th inning which, other than a foolish failure to have their two base runners going with a full count, down by two in the 8th and hitting into a double play instead, was one of the critical turning points of the game.
Although he didn't win, he didn't disappoint...5 2-3 innings, vintage Pedro was on display — minus the overpowering fastball of his heyday. He didn't need it. Martinez baffled the Yankees with offspeed pitches and sneaky fastballs.
Joe Girardi answered critics of his perceived overmanagement by using only one arm out of the bullpen. Two innings of relentless Mariano Rivera was sufficient to nail it down.
"They're the best team we've played all year," New York's Derek Jeter said. "They're champs for a reason, and we need to play well if we're going to beat them."
HOW ABOUT SUPER SUNDAY?
Giants at Eagles for first place in the NFC East followed by Brett Favre's return to Lambeau Field in a Vikings uniform, a titanic match up, followed by Game 4 of the World Series in Philly which will also be a must-win game for whomever loses Game 3 on Halloween Night. Philly is nearly ground sporting zero.
Yes, yes, missed another week of predictions - it was essentially an uninspirational week but this week, here we go:
DEN @ BAL: Undefeated pretenders against what once and intimidating team but now an O for October Baltimore Ravens team who have little choice but to end Denver's season-long win streak. Both teams are coming off a bye week. Baltimore 24 Denver 21
NYG @ PHI; The Giants are reeling on a diet of NFL-level competition after wiping up a bunch of muppets and looking good. The pattern is the Giants can't beat teams that are any good. The Eagles aren't great, nor are they pretty. Will Michael Vick finally factor? What you've got to figure is how often the Giants seem to have their number. Giants 27 Iggles 21
MIA @ NYJ: Rooting with heart rather than head. Despite their wobbles, the Jets simply have to revenge that hideous loss a few Monday nights ago on national telly. Jets 24 Dolphins 17.
SF @ IND: Can anyone beat these Colts? Well surely the 49ers could be inspired but logically, these teams are simply uneven on paper. Colts 33 49ers 17
STL @ DET: A great WHO CARES game featured in this week's Anti-Football League match. Lions had the week off and time to get their rookie QB back to reasonable health. No chance. Lions 38 Rams 23.
SEA @ DAL: Which Cowboys team? Which Seahawks team? Who knows? Tony Romo has a habit of sucking most of the time and occasionally playing over his head. He's just had an over-the-head game last week so we aren't expecting consecutive ones. Seahawks 24 Cowboys 21.
HOU @ BUF: Oh god how these Texans are everybody's darlings this season. Buffalo have won two in a row. Which charade stops first? Texans 28 Bills 23
CLE @ CHI: These games, mismatches highlighting the distinct lack of parity in the NFL this season, have traditionally been blowouts. Cutler is due to bounce back from a row of mediocrity but not the Browns. Bears 37 Browns 13
OAK @ SD: The Raiders have had their moment in the sun beating Philly like that. The Chargers won't want that kind of humiliation. Chargers 31 Raiders 13.
JAC @ TEN: The Who Fucking Cares Bowl of the Anti-Football League. I'm tempted not even to bother putting a score up here but what the hell, let's root for those poor, miserable Titans, eh? Titans 23 Jags 20.
MIN @ GB: It's about time Favre goes down, innit? The swift decline may have begun already in Pittsburgh last week. You hate to bet against this guy where pride is on the line but somehow the Packers must feel like they will be humiliated forever if they lose this. Packers 26 Vikings 23.
CAR @ ARI: This is the kind of game you might expect an upset. Cards rolling, Panthers spitting out the bile of a home loss to Buffalo of all teams. Short week for the Cards as well. Are they motivated? Are they hungry? They've yet to beat anyone good but they can be a good running team. Controlled atmo, I'm going with the upset because I still hate the Cards and don't want to root for them so long as their Johnny Come Lately Jesus Freak of a QB is still there. Panthers 28 Cardinals 27.
ATL @ NO: Great Monday night match up in the Superdome. Big stage, the Saints look indomitable. Although they might be ripe for upset and the Falcons are coming off a stunning loss, this might be another half-shoot out where the Saints do all the shooting. Saints 38 Falcons 24.
What's my record now on this half-hearted season of two weeks of picks out of 7? 21-9, that's what. But that's on the back of a 14-2 opening record, that's what. So the stock is tumbling.