9/21 – Yankees at Angels

biga.jpgGood evening from under the lights at Angel Stadium, where the Yankees kick off a very important six-game stretch of baseball against the Angels and the Red Sox. First up is the Halos, as Andy Pettitte gets the ball against a team that has perennially given the Yankees some serious headaches.

For Pettitte, his concern is that his left shoulder holds up through the fourth or fifth inning and shows no sign of the fatigue that prompted the Yankees to skip him a start. Joe Girardi said that he will be looking for Pettitte’s location to be sharp and has been encouraged by the lefty’s side sessions, which were all positive.

“He has not given me any reason not to feel good,” Girardi said.

The Yankees’ magic number to clinch a playoff spot is one, with the Rangers and A’s playing simultaneously here in California. Should the Yankees win or the Rangers lose, word is that there won’t be much celebrating going on. The champagne is being saved for the American League East clincher; that magic number was nine entering Monday.

Other notes — Girardi wanted to put more of a right-handed lineup out there against Joe Saunders, which is why Jorge Posada is DHing. That gives Hideki Matsui a night off … Sergio Mitre is not available in this series after pitching five innings of scoreless, one-hit ball on Sunday … Dave Robertson could be pitching in a game early next week. … Phil Coke is back at the team hotel, sidelined with acute gastritis.

Girardi said he was never hazed as a rookie, the way they got Mark Melancon, Ramiro Pena and Mike Dunn last night. The Cubs, with Rick Sutcliffe as a ringleader, had planned to dress Girardi as Drill Sergeant Vince Carter from the old TV series ‘Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.’ Steve Wilson was to play Pyle, but for one reason or another, the Cubs never followed through. In case you’re wondering, the mid 1990s Yankees also had an outage in that category, so guys like Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera never had to go through the embarrassment.

YANKEES (95-55)

Jeter SS
Damon LF
Teixeira 1B
Rodriguez 3B
Swisher RF
Posada DH
Cano 2B
Cabrera CF
Molina C

Pitching: LHP Andy Pettitte (13-6, 4.14).

ANGELS (89-60)
Figgins 3B
Aybar SS
Abreu RF
Guerrero DH
Hunter CF
Rivera LF
Kendrick 2B
Quinlan 1B
Mathis C


Pitching: LHP Joe Saunders (13-7, 4.75).

32 Comments

Okay, I am going to throw out something that quite frankly sounds crazy in my own head. Should the Yanks keep the best record in the AL and take the extra day in the ALDS and get through it, and should Joba continue to struggle with his increasingly longer starts, and should Gaudin do well enough in his newly aquired 5th starter role…………..

Joba could be an ace in the future. Next regular season, I firmly believe he belongs in the rotation but for this year, he isn’t looking like a playoff starter. If the Yankees get an inning out of Joba in the ALDS and he isn’t the reliever of old then there is no question of trying such a radical move, but if he is then consider that using Joba, Hughes and Rivera would seem to lock the game down after 6. Throw in Aceves (assuming Girardi remembers he’s here) and just maybe 4 solid innings out of anyone might be enough. Unfortunately, only Gaudin seems an option for that, and even then only if he pitches well enough in his last couple of starts. There is no time to lengthen the aforementioned Aceves into a 4th starter and Mitre has no business pitching in the postseason.

I’m just looking at it from this sense, if Gaudin pitches well he isn’t really a loss relative to Joba in the rotation right now, and using Joba for one inning would shore up the back of the bullpen, which is often the difference between World Champions and also-rans

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I think everyone is missing the point about last night’s game. Pettitte was ok, just rusty because he missed a start. The offense will always come and go. Double plays are a function of hitting the ball hard at someone. The problem is a relief corps who gave up one in the seventh and one in the eighth. If they get beat 3-2, well at least they had a chance to win. 5-2 is tough to overcome whereas 3-2, at least you have a good chance to tie the game up without a long ball. Bryan’s comment about Aceves was right on the mark. Answer: Girardi is saving him because he’s worried Gaudin will only go 4 the next night and he knows he’s got no one else to go long. Let’s face facts, even Tim McCarver, the all time idiot knows and I’ll quote him, “Middle relief is the soft under belly of the Yankees.”

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Wow! We lose a few games and all of a sudden there are bloggers here!

The power outage is worrisome but not as much as the pitching outage. Andy’s outing is encouraging for sure but we are so far from where we need to be. The SUCHS now have what appear to be at least 4 dependable starters – Beckett, Lester, Bucholz, and Dice-K. Wake didn’t exactly impress last night but if he’s healthy enough I predict we’ll be on the bench looking up come mid-October….

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5-18 vs. the Angels in the last 23 games there. In two words THAT *UCKS!!!!

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oneof5 Cano to me is not a dependable hitter in the clutch. Let’s hope Gaudin pitches well tomorrow.

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Another loss in LA to the Angels. Glad at this point this team doesn’t have to face them in the first round if the playoffs started today. Thanks to the Royals they don’t lose more ground to the Soxes. Rotten roadtrip so far.

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Well Cano has been consistent all game, hitting ground outs and into double plays. Does it again in the 9th and kills the rally. He’s been lousy all year with guys in scoring position.I’d like to wipe that smug, stupid look off his face. He needs to take the game more seriously.

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Don’t know the answer to that Bryan. Maybe you need to ask the manager. Bruney and the other guy Girardi brought into the game tonite sure aren’t the answer. Why the *ELL does Girardi keep bringing in Bruney. How many times does this bum have to fail before Girardi gets it?

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Alfredo Aceves hasn’t pitched since the Yankees’ makeup game against the Angels on Sept. 14. Why?

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Great! What did I say? They need to give up on Bruney. He’s not a guy you want to bring in in a close game in the late innings. Poor management and decision making again by Girardi.

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Tell me, why Brian Bruney and not Hughes? They’ve got to win this game and Bruney is too unreliable.

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Another useless night for Cano at the plate. Grounds out again. We’ve got to get Saunders out of the game but he has only pitched 78 pitches so far, so he’ll probably pitch the 8th inning and then they’ll bring in their closer.

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ARod homers but with nobody on. At least he got the Yankees on the board. Hopefully that will spark some more offence. They sure haven’t done much so far tonight. They’ve got to get some guys on base so that if there is a home run or an extra base hit they can get multiple runs.

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Thank you Royals for this come from behind win. Where I live we see the Royals on the television a lot and I have to tell you Yankee fans they are a decent ballclub. What concerns me about the Yankees the past couple of weeks is the lack of offensive intensity. Altho the number is 8 to win the division I believe they need to win the division by playing better baseball.

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Man, Tex grounds into a double play. The Yankees can’t hit Saunders tonight, but they haven’t hit very many pitchers well in the past week or two. Their offence has dried up except for the one game against Seattle. They’re running out of innings and need to capitalize on the Sox’s loss tonight. They’ve got to show they can beat teams like the Angels and the Sox on their home turf.

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Final in Kansas City — Royals 12, Red Sox 9. Yankees magic number down to eight.

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Interesting comments from Terry Francona today. Sounds a lot like he really doesn’t give a hoot about the division. If it happens, great. If not, they’re in anyway.

“You know what, I don’t know. I really don’t know. I think the most important thing is to try to go in healthy, and having your pitching somewhat lined up,” Francona said. “I think as we’ve proven in the past, we’ve been a much better team at home during the regular season. I think that’s stating the obvious. I also think when we’ve gotten to the postseason in the past, we have been OK on the road. To get to that point, it normally comes down to having your pitching lined up. I think we’ve proven that.

“The year we didn’t [in 2005], Chicago got rid of us in a hurry. I guess that’s more what we care about. Last year, things actually looked pretty good and then Beckett had that oblique and that really changed the way our staff looked in a hurry.”

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Hopefully KCs lead over Boston will hold up. It’s a chance for the yankees tonight not only to guarantee themselves a place in the playoffs but to win one more game and to go 6 ahead of the Sox. Let’s go Yankees!!

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I think we can all concede that the playoffs are a given. The important thing is the division, and with Wakefield and the Boston bullpen getting crushed by KC of all teams, they might actually lose this one. That’s as good as a yankee win right now, but would be nice to see the Yankees come back to beat a potential playoff opponent and knock another digit of the magic number.

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The Yankees need to start getting some offence going. They’re making Saunders look awfully good. He’s not a bad pitcher but it seems in many games the Yankees have difficulty in hitting rather mediocre pitchers. They all look like Cy Young winners against the Yankees. Five or six hits a game is not going to do it.

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Yanks going sleepily thus far against Joe Saunders.

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Great, Cano grounds into a double play which he does all too often and negates Posada’s single. Clutch hitting wins ball games.

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I’m not sure it’s necessary either. But it does seem like it helps team chemistry and the guys enjoy it. All the off-the-field bonding (CC took them out last night) is nice, of course. But unless they win games it doesn’t do much good.

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Great, Cano grounds into a double play which he does all too often and negates Posada’s single. Clutch hitting wins ball games.

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Andy is not off to a good start 2 runs 3 hits and a walk 29 pitches. I hope it’s out of his system now and he can now and put the 1st inning behind him,,, “GO YANKEES!”

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Bryan: I’m probably a wet blanket but I’m not sure the hazing stuff is really necessary. It’s all so childish especially in professional sports, but anyway, that’s just my opinion.

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Another run. We’re going to get into a deep hole early that we are not going to be able to get out of. The Angels are looking deadly tonight already. I really think the only starter we can rely on any more is CC. The rest have been terribly inconsistent all year. Without good starting pitching game in and game out we’re not going to be able to keep up with the Angels or the Sox or even the Tigers.

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Well, if you think about it, this was probably their last chance to do the hazing. Their flight Wednesday goes cross-country to New York and the guys would scatter at the end of the trip, and the Yanks will fly to Tampa on the off-day Oct. 1, so there’s no reason to get dressed at the stadium. I suppose they could have done it Oct. 4 on the last day of the season flying back to New York, but that’s not really such great timing either.

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Here we go! Abreu is killing us already and Guerrero is smacking the ball around. This is not a good way to start this series. Andy is getting hit in the first inning which is not a good sign.

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Andy walks Figgins who is deadly on the bases. Not a good way to start. Look at what Bobby Abreu has been doing this year–his average, on base percentage etc. Not sure why we didn’t sign him instead of picking up Swisher. Swisher has done well in spurts but he isn’t the consistent hitter Abreu is. I know Abreu isn’t great in the field but neither is Swisher. He has come back to haunt us this year. Let’s hope he isn’t a yankee killer in this series!

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It seems rather inappropriate to see all this costume stuff and hazing of the rookies and horsing around at a critical time of the schedule for the Yankees. Wait until they win the Division and get home field advantage and are sure they are in the playoffs and then do the hijinks. it’s time to get serious and knuckle down into the stretch run I think.

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See comments under “the sky is not falling..as least not yet”.

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