It's getting to the point where this season is really fun. The Yankees are 31 games over .500, have a 7.5 game lead in their division, and have won twelve of thirteen. Everything seems to be going their way.
Joba Chamberalin takes the mound for the Yanks today and will try to keep that roll going. After three consecutive impressive starts following the All-Star break, Joba has regressed to his frustrating ways over his last two starts, allowing 11 hits and 9 walks over 11 IP. Today would be an opportune time to right himself again. This will be his final start until August 25th as the Yankees attempt to control his innings over the remainder of the season.
Chamberlain has made one start against Seattle, coming on June 30th this year. He went five and a third, giving up three runs on nine hits and three walks while stiking out four. The Yankees won, but Joba did not factor in the decision. In four previous relief appearances against the M's, Joba pitched 4.2 innings, giving up just one run and five hits, with a 3:1 K:BB.
Seattle will toss a dreaded rookie starter. Doug Fister, who was drafted by the Yankees in 2005 but went unsigned, is a 6'8" righty who made his Major League debut with an inning of scoreless relief on August 8th. He made his first Big League start Tuesday against the White Sox, throwing six shutout innings of one hit ball, but walking four. While his MLB walk rate is quite high through all of seven innings, he issued just 12 free passes in 112 innings of minor league work this year. What little I can find about him on the internets says he doesn't have overpowering stuff, pounds the zone, pitches to contact, and induces a lot of ground balls.
Hideki Matsui is out of the line up for the second consecutive day, though I've yet to hear any news of an injury. [UPDATE 2:30: According to Pete Abe, Matsui has fluid on his left knee and is day-to-day] Mark Teixeira will DH, with Nick Swisher at first and Eric Hinske in RF. Melky Cabrera gets a much needed day off with Jerry Hairston taking his place in CF. Robinson Cano will not start at second base for the first time since June 25th. He's played every inning of every game since then and has missed only 19 innings all year. Ramiro Pena gets the start in his place. I have a feeling we'll be seeing a pinch hitter or two today, and I'm holding out hope that Chad Gaudin will at least get an inning of work so he doesn't go into his Wendesday start so rusty.
After playing three straight games starting after 10 PM on the east coast, we get the treat of baseball on Sunday in the afternoon. With three wins already to show for this series, what do the Yankees have to lose?