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World Series 2001
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10/29/2001 02:07 AM ET
Browne: Torre will be able to play hand that got them here
Paul O'Neill, who wasn't in the lineup in Games 1 and 2, will have a chance to give the Yankees a boost in Game 3.
PHOENIX -- The thump was squelched right out of the Yankees' offense in the first two games of the World Series. Curt Schilling and Randy Johnson essentially took the bats right out of the hands of the defending world champions.

But there's reason to think things can be different as the Series shifts to New York for Tuesday's Game 3.

There was no DH in Arizona. And there was the Big Unit in Game 2. This meant that Yankees manager Joe Torre couldn't go with his standard lineup. The one that has Tino Martinez, David Justice and Paul O'Neill in the lineup at the same time.

In fact, those three veteran left-handed run producers combined for just seven at-bats in the first two games.

You can't argue with Torre for keeping all three out of the starting lineup in Game 2. Johnson frequently makes even the calmest managers go to a predominantly right-handed lineup.

But you also can't argue with the fact the Yankees lineup will look a lot more imposing for Game 3.

Shane Spencer and Randy Velarde will be back to their duties as reserves, and that's a good thing for the Yankees.

Justice, O'Neill and Martinez are the type of timely hitters who have enabled the Yankees to have so much success in October.


Sure, Brian Anderson -- the D-Backs' Game 3 starter -- is a lefty. But he isn't the caliber of southpaw that will force Torre to switch his lineup in a game the Yankees need to win to avoid going south.

"The axiom, I don't think, has ever changed," Torre said. "Good pitching stops good hitting and that's what we have seen the last couple of days with Randy and Curt."

Anderson is no offense-stopper. So the Yankees hope the bats -- which produced a paltry one run and six hits through the first two games -- can come busting out in time to get them back into the Series.

"We can't change our approach offensively," said shortstop Derek Jeter, still looking for his first hit in the Series. "We need to stick with what got you here."

And starting with Game 3, they can get back to the lineup that got them here.

Who's Sizzling: Paul O'Neill. Thanks to the DH and Randy Johnson, the veteran warrior was stuck on the bench in the first two games of the World Series. But if you recall, O'Neill swung a hot bat against the Mariners in the ALCS. He was 5-for-12 (.417) with two homers.

Who's Fizzling: Chuck Knoblauch. Hard for the Yankees to do much offensively when their leadoff man is invisible. Knoblauch is 0-for-8 in the first two games.

Fearless Prediction: Derek Jeter will explode in Game 3. The player the Yankees feed off is 2 for his last 24. He doesn't have a hit yet in the World Series. It's hard to think this can last any longer.