During the 2004 American League Championship Series, the Yankees entered Game 4 with a 3-0 series lead. The Red Sox were on the brink of their second-straight playoff elimination at the hands of their AL East rivals.
Then came "The Steal." Shortly thereafter, Bill Mueller drove Dave Roberts home to blow Mariano Rivera's save and take the game to extra innings. In the bottom of the 12th inning, David Ortiz blasted the game-winning two-run homer.
And the rest was history.
Now, eight years later, the Yankees ironically face a 3-0 hole. Although its not against the Red Sox –– who have missed the postseason for the third straight season –– the Yankees will have their hands full with the Tigers in Game 4.
In order to attempt a comeback, the Yankees have to look at the Red Sox' example from 2004. They have pitcher Derek Lowe, who started Game 4 and Game 7 of the 2004 ALCS for the Red Sox, at their disposal.
For his part, Lowe had sound advice for his current teammates.
"You have to simplify things and not try to go down 'negative lane' and start worrying about where you’re going to be tomorrow," Lowe said.
"It can happen. You’ve got to think small. That team was — and I’m saying this having been here only six weeks and there for eight years — that team had a special bond and special attitude about it."
Fortunately for the Yankees, they have ace CC Sabathia slotted to start Game 4 against the Tigers. He's proven to be reliable under pressure, falling one out short of throwing a complete game in Game 5 of the ALDS against the Orioles.
In three starts against the Tigers this season, Sabathia has posted a 3-0 record with a 3.32 ERA. Should New York win behind Sabathia, they'll have Andy Pettitte –– the winningest pitcher in postseason history –– penciled in for Game 5.
So there is hope for the Yankees.
After all, eight years ago Boston's unprecedented comeback started with Roberts' steal. And it ultimately resulted in a World Series championship that snapped an 86-year title drought.
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