Baseball-Almanac.com's Divisional Series section
2000 American League Divisional Series:
New York Yankees (3),
Oakland Athletics (2)
For the first time - in a long time, the line-up for the American League Divisional Series featured two new participants (the Chicago White Sox and the Oakland Athletics) who were both making their playoff debut. Both their opponents (the New York Yankees and Seattle Mariners) were ALDS "regulars" and the Bronx Bombers were going for their third World Series Championship in as many years. After sweeping two consecutive Divisional Series 3-0 as well as two consecutive World Series 4-0, most experts gave poor odds to the Athletics. Oakland however, would give the Yankees not only a tough game, but a tough series to boot.
The "Bay Area Bombers" set the pace with a 5-3 win in Game 1 after catcher Ramon Hernandez, went 2-for-4 and drove in a pair of runs, including the go-ahead run in the sixth inning. Hernandez's two-out RBI double almost scored two runs, but Oakland's Jeremy Giambi was caught at the plate during a collision with Yankees catcher Jorge Posada. Yankees ace Andy Pettitte evened the score in Game 2 by holding the A's to just five hits in 7 2/3 innings before turning things over to auto-closer Mariano Rivera. Scott Brosius also came up big on the defensive side by making a spectacular barehanded stop of a one-hop grounder to throw out Randy Velarde, who represented a tying run. Orlando Hernandez ran his career postseason record to 6-0 by limiting Oakland to just two runs and four hits over seven innings in Game 3. However, rookie Barry Zito topped El Duque's numbers the following night by surrendering only one earned run over 5 2/3 innings in his first career playoff start. The unlikely hero emerged from Yankee Stadium with an amazing 11-1 victory over the favored veteran Roger Clemens. If Game 4 was all about the starters, then Game 5 was all about the bullpen. Fortunately for New York fans, the Yankees boasted the best in the league with Mike Stanton, Jeff Nelson, Orlando Hernandez (making a surprise relief appearance) and closer Mariano Rivera combining for 5 1/3 innings of scoreless baseball, while allowing only three hits and zero walks in relief of Andy Pettitte. Always at the top of his game, Rivera sealed the 7-5 victory while extending his postseason save total to 16.
Despite trading All-Star Ken Griffey Jr. in the off season, the Seattle Mariners had remained a contender while boasting a solid pitching staff that won a franchise-best 91 games to get into the playoffs on the final day of the season. The White Sox on the other hand, had been decimated by injuries and were not slated to go the distance. Edgar Martinez and John Olerud provided the power for the Seattle in Game 1 initiating a momentum that would carry their team for the rest of the series. Martinez, who had led the American League with 145 RBIs and had a career-high 37 homers, knocked in a two-run homer to left field that silenced the crowd of 45,000 that had come to see the Sox in their first playoff appearance in seven years. Olerud followed suite with a long shot to center sealing the 7-4 victory. Chicago looked to even the score the following day in the fourth, but Ray Durham bounced into an inning-ending double play with 2 runners on and 1 out. Journeyman Paul Abbott then closed the 5-2 deal for Seattle allowing just 3 hits in 5 2/3 scoreless innings. Game 3 ended in similar fashion after John Olerud lined a shot off the midsection of White Sox reliever Kelly Wunsch in the bottom of the ninth. Wunsch managed to pounce on the ball but threw wildly past first baseman Frank Thomas, allowing Olerud to advance to second. Olerud was then lifted for pinch runner Rickey Henderson, who scored the winning run. In the end, the Seattle bullpen, which had been the target of much criticism over the years, came through with 11 2/3 innings of scoreless ball while tallying only 3 hits and 11 K's.
© 2002-2003-2004 Pinstripe Press. All Rights