Monday, August 10, 2009

Sweeping Up After The Weekend

I know this is Matt's line, but since he's in New Hampshire this morning... Good morning, Fackers. And it's a good morning, indeed.

Going into this series, we said that Yankees vs. Red Sox games are different, said that all indications were that the Yankees had the advantage and predicted that the Stadium would finally come alive. We were lucky enough to be right on all three counts and anyone, well any Yankees fan, who watched the entire series was treated to a satisfying performance in which the Bombers looked like what their record says they are: The best team in baseball.

Over the long haul, you have to look at numbers like run differential to even out the ups and downs of the season, but over a short series against a heated rival, it's hard not notice that the Yankees seemingly ripped the momentum away from the Red Sox at every juncture possible. When the Sox jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the 3rd inning on Thursday, the Yanks immediately tied it up on a homer by Johnny Damon. When the Sox back back with two more in the 4th, the Bombers responded with 8. They finsihed out the series by allowing two runs over the next 32 innings, both of which were quickly erased by back to back jacks from Damon and Teixeira.

We try not to talk a whole lot about "momentum" and "clutch" and other fluffy intangibles which evade statistical verification of their existence in the long run on this site, but this weekend the Yankees made it impossible not to do so. A-Rod found two incredibly high leverage situations to hit two home runs, as did Johnny Damon. The bullpen allowed only 4 runs in 14 1/3 IP, while the only runs allowed by a Yankees starter were the 5 Joba Chamberlain gave up Thursday night. In short, the Yankees stepped up to the plate and made this a turning point in the season.

Taking four games from the Red Sox all but deletes the memory of the first eight they lost. The Yanks had already overcome those in the overall standings and all that was left was the notion that the Red Sox had their number, which Nick Swisher responded to by saying "but we changed cell-phone providers".

It's been a long time since the Yankees and their fans have had reason to be riding this high. Not since 2006, when they swept the Sox in a 5 game series which also put them 6.5 games ahead, perhaps. Big Papi got one hit all series and Dustin Pedroia unfortunately had to break the news that he is in fact not magical.

The Yanks have won 31 of their last 41 games and are on pace for 100 wins. They are 27 games above .500, which is pretty incredible since they were actually below that mark 33 games into the season. How quickly we forget.

Who knows, maybe they will suffer a let down when they welcome Toronto to the Stadium tonight and Sergio Mitre takes the hill. But let's enjoy this feeling while it lasts.

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