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If the Yanks are to make an improbable run to October this year, if they are to overcome a six-game gap with just one month of the season left, they’re going to need contributions from three key players. Tonight, those players delivered.
We’ll start with Jason Giambi. The Giambino had, until recently it seems, been slumping badly. His offense since the All Star Break has disappeared, and as he heads into free agency, the Yanks are going to have to decide on his future. They need him to come through in big spots, and over the last few days, he has.
Giambi has now driven in three of the Yanks’ last four runs. He’s also delivered what would be game-winning RBIs in both of the last two contests. The Yanks need this lefty force in the middle of the lineup. Tonight, he came through.
Up next is the second baseman. This year has not been a banner year for Robinson Cano. An early-season slump put him in a big hole, and he still hasn’t really put together a sustained run as he did during the second half of 2007. Tonight, Cano picked up two hits, and while they were largely incidental to the game, those hits are good signs.
With the Yanks generating no offense from their catcher spot, they need Cano to have a hot September. It’s tough to overstate how much better the Yanks are when Cano hits as Cano can.
And finally, in the third spot is a pitcher. It is of course none other than Carl Pavano. We know his tortured Yankee history. We don’t know what Pavano can do for a month if healthy. Perhaps tonight, we glimpsed an omen of good things to come.
For six innings, Pavano kept the Jays’ hitters off balance. While he left a few pitches up, he allowed just three hits and one run on a walk and a strike out. The Jays put the ball in play, but nothing came of it. Somehow, on August 30, Carl Pavano is 2-0 with a 3.27 ERA.
Who knows really if Pavano can keep this up? But with Darrell Rasner and Sidney Ponson running a high-wire act every time out, the Yanks need stability in the rotation. Maybe Pavano, pitching for his pride and a new contract, can, for a month, give the Yanks that. It’s the least he could do all things considered.
For one night, Pavano delivered, the Yanks scored just enough off of A.J. Burnett, and the bullpen held the game. For one night, the Yanks are still alive, hoping to stave off the inevitible.