August 17, 2006
August 17th vs. The Orioles
At this point, it's a good idea to look at the last three series that the Yankees have played - and see how they did.
August 8th-10th, @ the White Sox:
The Yankees lost 2 of 3 games and barely won the one game. In the win, the Yankees had a 7-0 lead after 6 1/2 innings and allowed the White Sox to get within a run. And, if the White Sox' Joey Cora uses his head in the 9th inning of that game, it's a tie-game with the White Sox still batting in the 9th.
August 11th-14th, vs. the Angels:
The Yankees split the four game series. But, if not for some terrible relief pitching by the Angels' Brendan Donnelly in one game, the Yankees could have lost three of the four games to the Angels.
August 15th-17th, vs. the Orioles:
The Yankees lose 2 of the 3 games against the Orioles. In the two losses, they get killed in one game and blow many chances to win in the other. And, in the one game that they won, the O's LaTroy Hawkins helped them out.
In total, the Yankees have gone 4-6 in their last ten games - and their record could have easily been 1-9 in these ten games.
Face it, it's the make-it-or-break-it point in the Yankees schedule and New York is playing bad baseball now. And, if you think that's the bad news, get ready for this:
The Yankees now go up to Boston, to play the rested Red Sox - five times in four days.
At this point, I expect to see the Yankees be one game out of first place on the morning of August 22nd - but, tied in the loss column with the Red Sox.
That would turn the season into a 40-game contest. The Yankees better start to play better over those 40 games - or else they may miss the post-season for the first time since 1995.
Posted by Steve Lombardi at August 17, 2006 04:09 PM
Give me a break, Steve. We could just as easily swept the White Sox (all the games were close). We SHOULD have won last night against the O's. And you can't dismiss getting runs off of a reliever like it doesn't mean anything. You still have to hit the ball and score the runs. Should we not count any win by the the Yankees if they scored the runs late off a setup man or middle reliever?
This is a frustrating loss for two reasons: we could have easily won last night (and should have; why Cano wasn't made to bunt in the eighth is beyond me) and Torre stupidly took Wright out after three today, thus weakening the bullpen.
Exactly why was Ron Villone used again today, for the third day in a row, and made to pitch two innings? Yeah, he's a horse, but he's still human. He clearly didn't have good stuff out there today. And now he can't pitch at all tomorrow and maybe not even till Sunday. Why not let Bruney pitch two or three innings?
There's no excuse taking Wright out after three innings. Not on the eve of a condensed five-game series. Even if he gives up a few more runs, he had to at least go five. He gave up two hits. You have to settle him down and get him to throw strikes. Not throw in the towel after three lousy innings.
I can't think of a worse way of going into this five-game series. However, let's look at this rationally.
These are the pitching matchups:
Friday (game 1): Wang v. J. Johnson.
Advantage: Yanks (Wang's not good on the road, but Johnson just plain stinks).
Friday (game 2): Ponson v. Lester.
Advantage: Sox (just give them the win: Ponson will get lit up and the lefty rookie will baffle us for seven innings).
Saturday: Johnson v. Beckett.
Advantage: Yankees (just barely; but Beckett has been terrible, the Yanks should hit a few home runs off of him, and RJ can contain Papi).
Sunday: Mussina v. Schilling.
Advantage: even (I'd take Moose in this matchup myself, but it is Fenway, and Schilling always kills us).
Monday: Lidle v. Wells.
Advatage: even (Wells might get jacked up enough to pitch a good game, but Lidle seems capable of keeping his team in the game).
So looking at matchups, the Yanks should be able to take games 1, 3, 4 and even 5. I think they'll at the very least take two games, and maybe even three.
At the very least, we shouldn't act like the sky is falling. Something happened when the Sox won in '04: it felt like Yankee fans turned into Sox fans. Which is scary.
The Yanks MADE the playoffs in 1995.
But look at the stretch this way, they easily could've gone 7-3. They had many chances to win the 2 losses in Chicago, and should've beat Baltimore last night (they needed just one break).
What they do need is Wang to win game 1 tomorrow, because Ponson will get hammered.
Good point. I meant that they've been in the psost-season since 1995.
Posted by: Steve Lombardi at August 17, 2006 05:17 PM
~~We could just as easily swept the White Sox (all the games were close).~~
If "ifs" and "buts" were candy and nuts, wouldn't it be a Merry Christmas?
Posted by: Steve Lombardi at August 17, 2006 05:18 PM
"In total, the Yankees have gone 4-6 in their last ten games - and their record could have easily been 1-9 in these ten games."
"If 'ifs' and 'buts' were candy and nuts, wouldn't it be a Merry Christmas?"
Is this one of those "do as I say, don't do as I do" things?
"At this point, I expect to see the Yankees be one game out of first place on the morning of August 22nd - but, tied in the loss column with the Red Sox."
I'm still trying to figure out how your scenario can work. You wrote the post after today's game was over and now the Yanks' record is 70-48 and Boston's is 69-50.
What type of series result would end up with the teams tied in the loss column? After the 5 games New York will still have played 1 less game than Boston.
Am I making some doofus mistake trying to get to 1 game behind yet an even number of losses after 5 more games?
I guess we're all a little prickly now after a decidedly mediocre two week stretch of play.
Living here in the heart of Red Sox territory, I still feel that the Yankees have a better team, even though both teams haven't looked real good lately. The Yankees' pitching, in particular, notwithstanding one or two stinkers, seems more solid.
However, I'm trying to figure out what happened to the offense. Going by superficial impressions, it seems that both Jeter and Posada have hit a major wall. But this is a good enough team that I just can't figure out how they get shut down by the Loewens and Lopezes of the world.
I think it's quite likely we'll lose 3 out of 5 this weekend if the offense continues to squander opportunities. While that doesn't seem awful...we'll maintain a one game lead in the loss column...the bigger issue is that we still have to play the Angels, Tigers and Twins in the next two weeks, in an increasingly exhausted state. The Red Sox also go on a road trip, but it's hard not to see us losing a little more ground by Labor Day.
I really could care less what the Red Sox do after this weekend series. I want the Yanks to start playing better. If they do that, they control their fate, and scoreboard watching becomes less important.
~~~Is this one of those "do as I say, don't do as I do" things?~~~
Fair enough. Maybe 1-9 is a reach. Still, 4-6, which is reality, is just .400 baseball. And, that's not going to get the job done - ever.
Posted by: Steve Lombardi at August 17, 2006 09:09 PM
Right now, it's Yankees 70-48 and the Red Sox 69-50.
It could be Yanks 71-52 and Red Sox 73-51.
I missed a game. It would be 1.5 back.
Posted by: Steve Lombardi at August 17, 2006 09:12 PM
Thanks for getting back on the August 22nd situation, I was going crazy with all of the series possibilities :-)
I usually enjoy day games on work days, because they make the day go so much faster. Usually. Today, it just made things grind to a halt, and since I was at work with nothing better to do (like work), I had no choice but to continue to click over to gameday. At least I was able to amuse myself by seeing the various substitutions and a new guy making his Yankee debut, which always entertains me for some reason. Other than that, what a miserable excuse for a game, and what a miserable stretch of baseball. Which maybe fine, I was a little concerned about them peaking too soon anyway, so they're right where I want them:)
Anyway, it almost feels to me like this is a team that desperately needs it greenies. Let's get some gallon jugs of Red Bull to Fenway, stat.
Hopefully, tomorrow's game will make tomorrow's work day go faaaaaast. And sorry to hear about Phillips potential "injury." Between that and Lidle's bereavement (which was justified but awfully convenient) I'd be surprised if Boston doesn't cry foul at say, 10 AM eastern tomorrow.
the bigger issue is that we still have to play the Angels...
Fear not, 1/2 their team's suspended ;)
By the way, Tyler Clippard pitched a no-hitter tonight. I'm sure Steve will post a little something about it later.
The Yankee universe is going to get a lot less stressful when Tyler Clippard and Phil Hughes are pitching in the big leagues.
Agreed, but, that will still be around 2008.
Posted by: Steve Lombardi at August 18, 2006 11:08 AM