On the same day that we learned New York is Yankeetown, we also learned that Joba Chamberlain has been suspended a whopping two games for his “inappropriate actions during the top of the ninth” yesterday.
While Yankee fans are sure to be outraged, this is a token suspension. Major League Baseball knows how the Red Sox felt and they know the Joba Rules. The suspension assuages the Red Sox’s feelings and doesn’t really make Joba unavailable to the Yankees before his next scheduled pitch day anyway. You can thank this symbolic suspension on Joe Torre’s decision to run Joba out there in the 9th inning of a five-run game for that one.
Anyway, tonight’s opponent hails for Tampa Bay. Weighing in at 54-80, the Devil Rays are throwing Andy Sonnanstine against Phil Hughes. Sonnanstine is 3-9 with a 6.38 ERA; Hughes is 2-2 with a 5.35 ERA. The Yanks could use a good night offensively and a quality start from Phil. Check for Hughes’ velocity and location early. Those two will indicate whether tonight’s start is bound to be a success.
The Yanks are going with their A Team. If the playoffs started tomorrow, these would be your starting nine. Yes, Giambi’s at first.
Update (7:17 p.m.): Peter Abraham raised an interesting point today. With the Yankees sweeping the Red Sox yesterday, the Mets’ stunning loss and four-game sweep at the hands of the Phillies went largely unnoticed by the tabloids. You can bet that if the Red Sox had taken four from the Yankees during a pennant race in late August, the papers would be all over the Yanks. But the Mets, who now have just a two-game lead in their division, got a free pass. Interesting.