Monday, June 8, 2009

Game 57: Serial Killa(z)

Since dropping both halves of a two game set against the Rays back on May 6th and 7th, the Yankees have won seven out of eight series against their opposition. The only one they lost was against the World Champion Phillies and all three of those games were closely contested. A win tonight could make it eight out of nine.

They done it every which way, dropping the first game of three against Toronto, taking all four against the Twins by a grand total of 5 runs, blasting the Orioles in each of the three games in the Bronx, and taking 2 out of three from Texas both in Arlington and at the Stadium. The Twins and O's were the only two sweeps, the other five have gone 2-1 in favor of the Yanks.

Those three walk off wins against the Twins seem like the obvious turning points in hindsight. Dramatic wins and whipped cream pies in the face have a way of galvanizing teams and making them think they should win every game (or at least every series). Momentum is a fickle mistress, but the Yankees appear to be doing a hell of a job of keeping her around at the moment.

The one player with the most influence on whether the Yanks can notch another series victory tonight will be Andy Pettitte. The 37 year old eclipsed the 2800 innings pitched mark in the fifth inning of his last start, which is a hell of a lot when you think about it. The only problem was that he didn't come out for the sixth. He only allowed one run in the outing before that in Cleveland (where his back problems first surfaced) but that outing was only 5 innings as well. Pettitte went deeper into his previous two but allowed 4ER in each. His last quality start was on May 13th and before that you have to go back to April 26th to find another. It's not to say that Pettitte has been horrible, he's pitched well enough to pick up five wins, but we've come to expect a little more from our lefty.

For the Rays, Andy Sonnanstine will toe the rubber. His two starts against the Yankees this year are the only two in which he has not received a decision. One was a 4-3 victory for the Yanks back on April 15th, and the other was a 4-3 win for the Rays on May 6th. In 11 starts this year, Sonnanstine has a decent 4-5 record but a hideous 7.07 ERA. He's been good against the Bombers so far this year, allowing 2 runs in each of his starts, going 5IP the first time and 7 1/3 the second. He's been decidedly more cold than hot against the rest of the league, however. The other Andy has given up 2 or fewer runs just as often he's given up 5 or more (5 times each), so let's set the over/under at 3.5 and see what happens.

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