Nineties Baseball: Get a Good Bullpen

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And you thought starting rotations won ballgames. Thursday it was the Cleveland Indians spelling R-E-L-I-E-F as their bullpen staved off two Yankee rallies to even their divisional series at one with a 7-5 victory. Groan of the day for Yankee fans: defensive left fielder Chad Curtis' two-run misplay in the fourth. But it was Jose Mesa who clamped down in the eighth, striking out two with the bases loaded to nip the rally.

The Mariners, however, are spelling J-O-S-E C-R-U-Z: sure, he wasn't a pitcher, but manager Lou Piniella sure got bubkus in return. The Orioles exploded for six runs after the sixth inning and blew out the Mariners 9-3. Again. So although the Marlins-Giants games have been thrill-packed, three of four series are 2-0 and on the brink. Which means somebody could be spelling T-E-E T-I-M-E as early as Friday night.