Good morning Fackers. It's finally Friday. This is of course a good thing due to it being the end of yet another work week. But more importantly the seemingly interminable wait for another game of Yankee baseball is over - Mother Nature willing. Five whole days. And we thought the All-Star Break was long this year.
Speaking of the All-Star Break, just prior to it the Yankees had a disastrous three game series in Anaheim during which they were swept and outscored by a total of eleven runs. The end of that series marked the start of the longest hiatus the Yankees had this year - until now. The new longest break will end with a series against those same Angels, except the stakes are much higher this time.
The Yankees' 2009 regular season featured several key moments: the return of Alex Rodriguez in Baltimore; the three consecutive walk-offs against the Twins, the surprise visit from Brian Cashman in Atlanta, a momentum swinging ejection of Joe Girardi, Francisco Cervelli's first Major League home run and the early August sweep in the Bronx that finally turned the tables on the Red Sox. While all of those were positive events, it was perhaps getting swept in southern California that was the most critical turning point of the Yankee season. They exited that series at 51-37, 3 games back in the AL East. They went 52-22 the rest of the way, finishing with the best record in baseball.
Those last 74 games included four against the Angels. The Yankees went 3-1 in those games to even the season series at five apiece, but thanks to that three game set in July, they finished with a minus ten run differential against the Halos. From a Pythagorean perspective, the Yankees picked up about three quarters of win beyond what they should have, thanks in large part to three of their victories coming by a single run.
Over the course of this series, much will be made of the Yankees struggles against the Angels during Mike Scioscia's tenure, particularly in the 2002 and 2005 Division Series. While there's no denying that, it doesn't much matter. These Yankees and Angels are far removed even from last year's versions. This year they split, and while the Yanks may owe probability three fourths of a win heading into this series, they were able to carry an even larger IOU against the Twins over to 2010.
The Yankees last played a game Sunday, in the final baseball game ever played at the Metrodome. Incidentally, we thought the Yankees played their last game there way back in July. Oddly enough, the three game sweep at the hands of the Angels immediately followed. After the Angels took those three, the Yankees took three of the next four. Seven games. Four Angels wins, three Yankees wins. Let's hope those numbers reverse themselves over the next seven games. This series ought to be a good one.