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September 21, 2005

September 21st vs. The Orioles


Another close game. Wow. But, it's another win.

September 16, 1964 - the Yankees are a 1/2 game out of first.
September 19, 1964 - the Yankees take first place and don't look back.

September 16, 2005 - the Yankees are 1.5 games out of first.
September 21, 2005 - the Yankees take first place for the first time since July 18th.

This year is really starting to look like 1964.

Tonight's game is a credit to the good people on staff with the Yankees.

On July 24th, Joe Kerrigan sits with Randy Johnson. Since then, including tonight, in his last 6 starts, the Big Unit is 4-0 with an ERA of 1.91. He's only allowed 1 homer in those games and the league is only hitting .158 against him.

Matt Lawton comes to New York and can't hit planet earth if he fell out of a space ship. Don Mattingly works with him and tonight he hits the big HR that provided the runs to win this game.

Wow. Have I said that already?

And, elsewhere, Mike Timlin blows a game in the 8th inning for the Red Sox. In their last 20 games, Boston has a record of 10-10. Something is happening with that team.

Is it O.K. to say "Wow" again? Wow.

Wow-we-wow-wow, in fact.

There are two concerns from this otherwise wonderful evening. First, Giambi looks like a guy who should be on the DL because of his back. Secondly, Mariano Rivera is not going to have a shoulder left come October the way he has to pitch just about every game these days.

Nonetheless, the Yankees magic number is now 11. Any combination of Boston losses and Yankees wins that equal 11 means the Yankees will win the A.L. East. And, there are 11 games to go.

Torre better have a very short leash on Mussina tomorrow. While a loss on Thursday would not be the end of the world, a win, giving the Yankees a full game lead, with just 10 games to go, is a gazillion times better than allowing the idle Red Sox to regain a share of first place.

This is the time to put the pedal to the metal.

Posted by Steve Lombardi at September 21, 2005 10:49 PM



Posted by: Patrick at September 21, 2005 11:37 PM

SL, excellent recap of the evening.

Think about it this way: If they clinch the division before the Sox series, it's a weekend off for Rivera/Giambi et al

Posted by: Jason O. at September 22, 2005 12:15 AM

Jason, if it was only that easy. We all know it's going to come down to the last weekend of the season- I hope I'm wrong! Has anyone else read that Mattingly has been working with Crosby a lot as well? While our struggles with RISP have been downright bizarre, overall I'm happy with the job the former captain has done. Of course, I may feel differently after 11 games.... What a great day though, I really thought this team was cooked and now the improbable has happened.

Posted by: JeremyM at September 22, 2005 12:20 AM

your site is unbelievably great. my friends and i read you everyday. keep it up. congrats to you and all yankee fans for us being in first place. your time put into this site is truly appreciated.

Posted by: david e at September 22, 2005 12:44 AM


I have never assumed winning the division was "that easy." However, the Red Sox are losing their balance on the edge of a cliff. All Yankees fans see/feel the realistic opportunity to put them away in the next 7-8 games. This not boastful nor is it a guarantee, just one more challenge in a season of challenges.

Posted by: Jason O. at September 22, 2005 01:09 AM

David E - thanks!

Can the Yankees make the Fenway Series moot? It will be a tall order. It would be great if they could set it up so that they only need to win one of the three games to clinch.

To do that, they would need to be up 2 going into the series. If they win today, that makes it up one. And, then it's just a matter of winning one more game than the Sox do, before the HTH games.

It's not impossible. But, it would be helpful if the Sox continue to play .500 ball, and no better, over their next week.

Posted by: Steve Lombardi at September 22, 2005 10:17 AM

I won't be entirely comfortable, especially after last year, until the Sox are totally out of it. If the Sox are still in it for that last series in Fenway you have to like their chances. They would throw these three guys at the Yankees:

Wakefield - Yankee Killer, why can't the Yanks hit this guy?
Schilling - perhaps the best big game pitcher in baseball the last 4 years, especially against the Yankees.
Wells - A tremendous big game pitcher if he's healthy, plus extra motivated to beat the Yanks since they didn't re-sign him.

It's possible the Yankees will be able to win one of those games, but if they have to win 2 of 3, that's a tall order. The Yankees need to keep winning now!

Posted by: Bozo at September 22, 2005 10:50 AM

Well said.

Posted by: Steve Lombardi at September 22, 2005 11:02 AM

SL, I think I read that Moose will be on a pitch count of 80. I'm hoping that gets him well into the late innings, or that he comes out after 5 'cause we're up by 12 runs. =)

Posted by: Shaun P. at September 22, 2005 11:28 AM

80 is what I heard. That probably is good for 5, knowing Moose. The Yankees could use a laugher today. But, that's hard for them with their middle guys. Laughers become close games - too often.

Posted by: Steve Lombardi at September 22, 2005 11:34 AM

the crazy part in all of this is that we actually have to root for the Indians to keep winning to make the last three games of the season meaningful for the White Sox.

We can't afford the White Sox to mail it in the last three games while setting up their rotation.

Very strange how this season is going to pan out next week.

Posted by: Philly Phil at September 22, 2005 12:33 PM

Let's hope this season has a better conclusion than '64.

Posted by: Josh at September 22, 2005 01:54 PM

Without question! 'Tho, if the Yankees lose the series, maybe the manager's status following will be the same as '64.

Posted by: Steve Lombardi at September 22, 2005 02:02 PM

Without question! 'Tho, if the Yankees lose the series, maybe the manager's status following will be the same as '64.

Tony LaRussa, Mgr. of the New York Yankees...


Posted by: Raf at September 23, 2005 09:47 AM