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.

Mo Sicka Than Your Average Poppa

Via River Ave. Blues, Mariano Rivera was not 100% when got touched up for 3 earned runs in 2/3 of an inning on Saturday. Tim Brown from Yahoo!, would you please fill us in?
For several hours before Rivera took the ball Saturday afternoon in that tie game, he’d suffered with a stomach ailment that brought aches and repeated vomiting, according to one Yankee. Rivera had rolled off the trainer’s table, where he’d hoped to sleep it off, and into the bullpen in the eighth inning, when he began to warm up.
Joe at RAB directs the attention of his post to commending the fact that Mariano stepped up and took the ball, even though he wasn't at his peak and didn't make excuses about it. Although once the information came out, the media was more than happy to make those excuses for him.

The thing I have a problem with is that according to Brown, Girardi knew that Mo was physically ill and laying on the trainer's table until he started warming up into the eighth inning. Mo is a warrior and a consummate professional, but no one is going to be able to bring their A-Game when they are battling a stomach virus.

I first-guessed the decision to take out Sabathia (without knowledge of Mo's condition) on Saturday. It was a borderline call. It's not like the Yanks were clinging to a one run lead and Phil Coke had just pitched the 8th inning. Sabathia, at 101 pitches, was ready to come back out for the 9th but Girardi went with "the book" even though his closer was vomiting a few innings earlier. I'm sure Mo said he was ready to pitch, but it's the manager's job to get the best performance out of his players, and calling on Mo in that spot was a dicey proposition at best.

Greetings Misinformation from Asbury Park

So you can't really see what the circled area says since Blogger sucks, but in their Sunday morning edition the Asbury Park Press proclaimed Mine that Bird, rather than his half brother Summer Bird, as the Belmont Stakes winner.

Anyone could predict the race wrong before it happens, but it takes special talent to get it wrong after the fact. No wonder the newspaper industry is going down the tubes.

(h/t Deadspin, where you can actually see the picture without a magnifying glass)

Signing an Autograph Is Not a Charitable Act

Good morning Fackers. It's Monday morning, so you're likely grumpy, as am I. But you know who's really in a bad mood? Alex Rios.

After going 0 for 5 with 5 Ks in last Thursday's matinee, taking the rarely seen platinum sombrero for the second time in his career, Rios headed out for a night on the town at a team sponsored charity function. Let's go to the videotape, which features some NSFW language:

Wow. You stay classy there Alex Rios. I believe the locals would say that you are a hoser. Rios is not performing too well this year and I have him on both my fantasy teams. I don't know if I can tolerate this type of behavior from one of my players. If you're going to play for The Boozehounds or A-Rod's Bitch Tits you have to carry yourself like a professional both on and off the field.

I'd also like the record to show that I departed Toronto Tuesday; so I was in no way a party to this. Schiff on the other hand may have something to add.