I didn’t want to mention this on Saturday, because why mention something negative after a big win, but it was yet another case of the O’Neill Theory. For the uninitiated, this is a completely unsubstantiated theory espoused by Paul O’Neill which states that a team getting blown out that scores runs in the ninth is showing life, and will likely win the next day. That’s what happened with the Sox on Friday night, and they came back in a big way on Saturday.
Of course, the theory will not be right 100 percent of the time. Yet it seems every time I take notice of the Yankees scoring runs in the 9th inning of a blowout, they come back and win the next day. Today will be yet another data point in testing this theory. Yes, it’s stupid, but it’s worked out so well that I can’t just ignore it at this point. So bear with me.
The Yanks will face rookie Derek Holland for the second time this season (third counting a relief appearance). You can read more about the Pettitte – Holland matchup in our Rangers series preview. I’ll spare the regurgitation of information here, but suffice it to say that Holland is not the same pitcher the Yankees saw in May. He’s been quite good over this last three starts.
In an attempt to get his starters some rest, Girardi has sat Damon today against the lefty. Clearly Girardi has more information about his players than I do, but I wonder if an alternate scenario might make sense. We know Melky’s slumping something fierce now. Why not put Hairston in center? Give Melky the night off. Damon had Thursday, Saturday, and Monday off. They can find time for him to sit against the White Sox. Again, this might have something to do with the lingering effects of Damon’s knee pain, so I won’t rush to judgement. I just thought they could have used the opportunity to get Melky a day off.
There’s another curious lineup move afoot. Tomorrow is a day game, so Jose Molina would catch either tonight or tomorrow. Posada is in the lineup today, so that presumes Molina catches tomorrow. Burnett pitches tomorrow. Does this signal the much-hyped rift between pitcher and catcher? Via Feinsand, Girardi says no. Action speak louder than words, though, and it would have been just as easy to catch Molina tonight and Jorge tomorrow. It might even make more sense to do it that way, because Molina would be facing a lefty tonight. I’m not saying there is a rift, but I am saying that if Girardi wants to quell the notion, he’d do better by having Posada catch Burnett tomorrow.
1. Derek Jeter, SS
2. Nick Swisher, RF
3. Mark Teixeira, 1B
4. Alex Rodriguez, 3B
5. Hideki Matsui, DH
6. Jorge Posada, C
7. Robinson Cano, 2B
8. Jerry Hairston, LF
9. Melky Cabrera, CF
And on the mound, number forty-six, Andy Pettitte.