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Kevin Millar on M&M: Red Sox’ comeback against Yankees ‘was eerie, it was very similar’ to ’04

09.06.13 at 12:12 pm ET
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MLB Network analyst Kevin Millar joined Mut & Merloni on Friday morning to discuss the Red Sox following Thursday night’s dramatic 9-8, 10-inning victory over the Yankees.

“[The rivalry] is back. That’s what I love about it,” Millar said. “Whatever you think about the [Ryan] Dempster-[Alex Rodriguez] thing, it brought this rivalry back. It gave it some substance. The Yankees are back in the playoff hunt, which is better for baseball. As much as Red Sox Nation would love to see the Yankees 46 games out, this is better for baseball right now. It’s exciting. The Orioles, the Rays, the Yankees, the Sox — this is great.

“So now we have a chance to watch a series, and it’s going to be a great four-games series. And we saw a great first game.”

The Red Sox’ ninth-inning comeback against Mariano Rivera on Thursday was reminiscent of the 2004 ALCS Game 4 comeback against Rivera that started with a walk from Millar and a stolen base from pinch-runner Dave Roberts, who then scored the tying run on a single by Bill Mueller. This time, Mike Napoli hit a two-out single and was replaced by Quintin Berry, who stole second, went to third on an error and scored the tying run on a single by Stephen Drew.

“Yeah, it looks like we squashed those ghosts,” Millar said of the ’04 team. “There used to be ghosts in Yankee Stadium. ‘€¦ We killed those ghosts. We killed those ghosts. [2003], that Aaron Boone ghost, he’s gone. So, I think we kicked those ghosts out.

“It was eerie, it was very similar.”

While Thursday’s loss appears devastating to a New York team that is battling to stay in the hunt for a wild card spot, Millar cautioned not to count out the Yankees.

“It’s a bad loss, but it’s not the end-of-the-world loss,” Millar said. “It’s a tough loss, they lost, they shower, they get right back out and they’ve got another game tonight. So, it’s not like, oh, they’re coming out with their bottom lip hanging down. ‘€¦ The Yankees are a veteran club. And they’re a different club. They’re a way different club than they were early on in the year. You’re looking at [Alfonso] Soriano and A-Rod and [Curtis] Granderson and Derek Jeter in the lineup, and [Robinson] Cano obviously on fire. This is a different club now. So, I think they’ve got a little swag and I think they’ll bounce back. ‘€¦ If they go out and win three games in a row, we’re not even talking about last night’s game.”

With the Red Sox closing in on a postseason berth, there has been some discussion about which pitcher would be moved out of the rotation in the playoffs. The obvious candidate is Dempster. Millar said the veteran pitcher will be a team player however it plays out.

“[If] they say, ‘Hey, Ry, go out there and get some outs in the bullpen, there’s no doubt in my mind that he shakes his head and says, ‘Yes, sir,’ and hustles on out there,” Millar said. “Because he doesn’t have the velocity anymore, the 94, 95 anymore, for that big, high strikeout 0-2. But you know what he has? He’s got some out pitches. He’s got some swing-and-miss pitches. And one time around is a heck of a lot better than the third time around when you don’t have that 95 anymore velocity for a starting pitcher.

“So, I definitely think Ryan Dempster can be a huge factor in getting some outs if that’s the case and all this rotation starts to set up and they’re all healthy and he’s the odd-man out, that he could easily get a couple of outs, if that’s what he has to do to help the team.

“One thing about Ryan, there’s no ego. ‘€¦ He’s going to do what’s best for the Red Sox, period.”

To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page. For more Red Sox news, visit the team page at weei.com/redsox.

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