Rare are the series this season when the Yankees sweep a three-game set. But if ever there were to be a time for the Yanks to pick up the pace, this week would be it.
While New York is reeling from the news about Osi Umenyiora, the Yankees are trying to make a last-gasp run at the playoffs, and to accomplish this dream, they’ll have to sweep the Red Sox this week. Momentum is on their side.
Sunday’s game did not start out well for the Yankees. Darrell Rasner, a starter by default, was terrible. He allowed ten baserunners and five runs — three earned — in just 3.1 innings of work. While the Yanks spotted Rasner to a 7-3 lead, he and the bullpen could not hold the Orioles, and at this point, no one really knows who will next start for the Yankees when they need a fifth starter.
Meanwhile, the Yanks’ bullpen came through late with a few huge innings. While David Robertson and Edwar Ramirez coughed up a two-run lead, Jose Veras, Damaso Marte and Mariano Rivera held the Orioles over the final three innings. Marte finally showed Yankee fans what he could do, and Mariano picked up a four-out save — his 31st of the season — to give the Yankees a much-needed victory.
Offensively, Sunday belonged to Robinson Cano. While he’s still trying to overcome a terrible start, Cano knocked out four hits on Sunday including the game-winning home run in the seventh inning. He drove in two, scored two and pushed his average up to .269. The Yanks really need to Cano to get hot over their last 30 games, and Sunday proved to be a good start.
Meanwhile, while Jason Giambi had yet another 0-fer and left seven runners on base, A-Rod and Bobby Abreu went a combined 5 for 7. Xavier Nady drove in two runs; Johnny Damon drove in three. And while Boston won, the Yanks kept the pressure on the Wild Card teams.
They may be down, but they’re not out. And with Boston on the way this week, the Yanks’ fate rests squarely in their hands. A sweep would keep them alive; anything would be a big blow. Here come some key August games. What could be better?