It would be nice to come out of this weekend five games over .500, wouldn’t it? Not only that, but only three behind the Sox in the loss column, though the Yanks were there when the series started on Thursday. But it started so horribly that I’m sure many of us are surprised a split is possible.
All right, enough of the negativity. We’ve got our ace-in-training on the mound tonight, as Joba Chamberlain faces the Sox for the first time as a starter. He’ll be opposed by Tim Wakefield, who has pitched 202 innings against the Yankees during his career. His ERA sits at 5.03, though the most damning number is the 110 walks he’s given up in those innings. That works out to 4.90 walks per nine; his career average is 3.48 BB/9. The Yanks hit him especially hard last year, plating 17 runs in 14 innings. They also amassed 17 walks in that period.
Joba has just 4.1 innings of work against the Sox, in which he has allowed one run and walked two while striking out five. The Yanks could use a solid seven out of him. But then again, when could they not use a solid seven from a starting pitcher. We all know that the Yanks will need Joba to step up with Wang out, and tonight presents a strong opportunity. He’ll certainly need to improve over his last start, in which he lasted just four innings against the Texas Rangers.
Word has surely gotten around already that Johnny Damon has been placed on the DL for the first time in his career. Justin Christian has been recalled to play the role of reserve outfielder. While this is certainly a devastating blow to the offense, it does open up a little competition between Melky and Gardner. Our rook speedster hasn’t gotten off to a hot start, but he should have at least 10 games of regular at bats to turn it on. Melky has seemingly responded to the Gardner call-up, going 5 of his last 10. So let’s see if he can turn that into a little hot streak.
Enough of all that, though. Onto your lineups.
And on the mound, number sixty-two, Joba Chamberlain.
Update by Ben (8:05 p.m.): During the pre-game show, Buster Olney reported that the Brewers have traded a package of prospects fronted by Matt LaPorta to the Indians for C.C. Sabathia. I’ll have more on this deal tomorrow morning, but quickly: While this now means the Yanks won’t have Sabathia this year, it puts them in a prime position to nab him once he hits free agency this winter. There’s no way the Brewers re-sign the lefty before he hits the open market. And LaPorta’s quite the price to pay.