The Yankees bounced-back from Saturday's loss and beat the Orioles 6-1 on the strength of Jaret Wright's performance and four solo home runs (Jeter, Johnny, Melky, and G'Bombee). Bobby Abreu went 3-4 with two stolen bases and the Yanks' now lead Boston by two games in the American League East. It is a good way to enter perhaps the toughest challenge of the year: twenty-one games in twenty days. This stretch includes three games against the White Sox, seven against the Angels, and five v. the Red Sox. New York's next off-day falls on August 28th, and then they play three against the Tigers followed by three v. the Twins.
The September schedule is far more favorable. The rest of the league must to put the Bombers down during the next three weeks, because if our guys make it through the rain (so to speak) in good shape, they will be tough, tough, tough.
I was away for the weekend. Here's some links for your face:
The New York Times has a profile of the Twin's terrific young pitcher, Francisco Liriano today. My latest piece for SI is about pitching phenoms. Liriano and Justin Verlander each missed their last starts, which brings me to my biggest concern for the next two months: Will Chien-Ming Wang hold together? Last year, he threw 116 innings; he's already up to 156 this season. Is this something to get crazy about, or am I just looking to be neurotic?
According to Joel Sherman in Sunday's New York Post, the Yankees are seriously considering picking-up Gary Sheffield's $13 million option only to trade him.
Bubba Crosby was designated for assignment on Friday night and was understandably upset. ("Well, F this F'in game.") Relief pitcher, Jose Veras took Bubba's place on the roster.
Bobby Abreu credits Yankee hitting coach Don Mattingly for his early success with the Yanks. One thing that I have noticed about Abreu, however, is that he's exceedingly tentative going back on fly balls in right field. He may have a strong arm but he doesn't look comfortable at all with the leather.
Here's a good piece of news: Robinson Cano will be activated tomorrow and rejoin the team. Miguel Cairo will be placed on the DL, after pulling a hamstring over the weekend. I don't figure we'll see him again until September. Meanwhile, we just might catch of glimpse of the $40 million man, Carl Pavano, on the field before 2006 is all said and done.
I really like the idea of getting Wilson--and getting him at this price, instead of waiting to let Chacon leave as a free agent--and thereby adding a right-handed power bat who can take over at first base and let Jason Giambi DH. Wilson helps balance out getting Bobby Abreu and eventually both Hideki Matsui and Robinson Cano back. When that happens, we're back to the days where not even getting down to the Yankees' nine-hole hitter makes life any easier on a pitcher. I've already said I think the Yankees can win the division now, and this only makes that look even more likely.
Unfortunately, there is the one little problem, which was keeping the now-purposeless Andy Phillips instead of Guiel. You play in Yankee Stadium, and Matsui isn't back yet--this is the team where you do want to have somebody on the bench who can park something in the right field porch. I admit, Guiel's probably the first choice to go down once Matsui returns, but that hasn't happened yet. Now that Wilson is here, what is Phillips for? Being a better first baseman than Giambi is no longer a unique skill on the roster, and that's really the only position that Phillips can play, and he isn't even any good at it. Hitting? Again, being good enough to pinch-hit for Miguel Cairo or Bubba Crosby, but maybe no Sal Fasano, is not a player you make a point of keeping. Guiel shouldn't just be on this team now, he's somebody you want on your playoff roster, certainly instead of Nick Green. Dumping him now on something like the principle of "last hired, first fired," is just sloppy roster management. This stuff has cost the Yankees in postseasons past, so it's a bit annoying if you think they're supposed to have learned something from those years they dragged Enrique Wilson along with them as some sort of unlucky charm.
Her pal, Steven Goldman thinks this is one of the most successful deadline periods in Yankee history.