The Yankees continually do their opponents a favor by having these get-away-day matinees, allowing them to skip town early and get to the next city in time for a good night's sleep. It's a luxury the Yankees are rarely afforded on the road, as most teams need the night time start to ensure a good gate. Even with all the moaning about the new Stadium, the Yanks would still draw close to a packed house even if the game started at sunrise.
Despite my affinity for these afternoon contests, I'll be stuck in my luxurious cubicle following on GameCast, while Jay will be in attendance. Rest assured there will be more on that later. I'll bide my time knowing I already have tickets for a few other weekday afternoon contests later in the season.
Today's game is all about getting back. The Yankees look to get back to 10 games over 0.500, hopefully on their way to 15, 20, and 25 over. They also look to get back to another axiom from the Torre years: winning the series, as they try to take the rubber game of this three game set. They look to get the offense and starting pitching back to where it was before poor performances from both yesterday. Mark Teixeira gets back in the line-up after he missed yesterday's game with a sprained ankle suffered while getting back at the Rangers on Tuesday night.
But more than anything else, today's game is about getting Chien-Ming Wang back. Getting him back from the pitching limbo he's been in for the past two weeks. Getting him back to the starting rotation. And most importantly getting him back to the form he displayed from the start of his career up through his season ending foot injury last year.
Expectations are the first step towards disappointment, so I'm trying not to expect too much from the Wanger today. He's looked good in his last two relief outings, turning in 5 scoreless innings and allowing only 3 hits and a walk against 3 Ks. But I don't know that we can draw anything other than an optomistic outlook from that. Getting Wang back to where he once belonged will likely be a long and arduous process given the injury, the beatings he took early this season, and they way he's been mishandled over the past few weeks. Regardless, today is an important first step.
Wang should be good for about 80 pitches today, which is assuredly why Alfredo Aceves was held out of yesterday's game. If he's on, Wang may be able to go six, if he's off the Texas line-up can chew up his pitch limit in the fourth. If he's really off he won't even make it that far.
As an aside, with Aceves held out yesterday, Brett Tomko was the de facto long man, going three impressive innings in relief of Pettitte. Remember when the Yankees said Tomko couldn't be used for multiple innings because he had been conditioned as a short-stint reliever this year? Another pearl of honesty from Girardi and company. I guess they feel that he was sufficiently stretched out after making two appearances covering two innings in the last two weeks. Remind me again why this guy is on the roster?
[UPDATE 12:02 PM: Pete Abe is reporting that Burnett has been suspended six games by MLB for throwing at Nelson Cruz Tuesday. How he can be suspended for six games due to an action that didn't get him tossed from one is a little beyond me. But it makes perfect sense in the pretzel logic that is the MLB discipline policy. Burnett plans to appeal, but we may see Hughes back in the rotation sooner than thought. Even if he serves the full six, I don't care. Burnett did what he needed to do for his team. If that's the price to pay for it then so be it. Meanwhile I'll wait for MLB to suspend Padilla as well. That is if Texas doesn't cut him first.]
Please use this as a game thread. We're not quite ready for a fancy live game chat, but I imagine several of you, like me, are stuck at some soul-sucking office today rather than sitting in front of your big screen with a frosty cold one. So let's commiserate in the comments.
Here's your video for today. As a special matinee bonus we'll do this a little differently. Rather than your typical video of the song or a live peformance we'll give you a two part, behind the scenes look at the making of Get Back. In true Fack Youk fashion, it's in black and white. So in my best Ed Sullivan voice "Ladies and Gentleman, the Beatles" with the late, great Billy Preston on the keys. Enjoy.
Get back, Get back,
Get back to where you once belonged.