Game 121: Down in a hole

It’s 5:15 as I type this. I’m headed to some place, where I might get a ticket for the game. I’m also four beers deep, so I don’t feel up to commenting on the game, except that we better damn well win, and Gardner damn well better get on base at least once.

If you don’t mind, could you all sing a verse of “Sha na na na” for Melky?

Your lineup:

1. Johnny Damon, DH
2. Derek Jeter, SS
3. Bobby Abreu, RF
4. Alex Rodriguez, 3B
5. Jason Giambi, 1B
6. Xavier Nady, LF
7. Robinson Cano, 2B
8. Brett Gardner, CF
9. Jose Molina C

And on the mound, number forty-six, my favorite Yankee of the dynasty, Andy Pettitte.

Game 120: Taking the series

Nothing like a day game right after a four hour and 22 minute affair the night before. It’ll just make tomorrow’s day off feel sweeter. That is, if they can pull of a win and take the series from the Twins.

They’ll be without the captain, who will sit out the game after fouling a ball of his foot last night. It makes enough sense. Might as well give him a full two days to rest. They will miss has bat, though. He’s 15 for 47 in August, adding up to a .319/.370/.404 line. In his place is Wilson Betemit, who is having yet another ugly month, despite his slightly increased playing time. In 27 plate appearances, he hasn’t drawn a single walk.

Rasner takes the mound again, looking to redeem himself. Phil Hughes is getting closer, and could take Rasner’s spot in 10 days or so. Here’s to hoping Ras puts up a fight to keep his spot.

Your lineup:

1. Johnny Damon, LF
2. Bobby Abreu. DH
3. Alex Rodriguez, 3B
4. Jason Giambi, 1B
5. Xavier Nady, RF
6. Robinson Cano, 2B
7. Ivan Rodriguez, C
8. Wilson Betemit, SS
9. Melky Cabrera, CF

And on the mound, number forty-three, Darrell Rasner.

Game 119: Win or else

While Hank is seemingly writing off the season, we’re trying to stay optimistic. We know the Yankees need to go on a tear, and each loss decreases the likelihood of them doing so. Was last night rock bottom? It didn’t feel like it, not to me at least. Maybe it did in the locker room. Maybe the only place this team can go is up.

If so, they’ve got the guy on the mound to do it. Moose looks for his 16th victory tonight, against a team he dominated on July 23. It was, in fact, probably his best performance of the year, and that’s saying something, considering how well he has pitched.

There’s not much left to say. Melky’s out of the lineup. He has three hits in 25 plate appearances this month, and they all came on Saturday against the Angels.

Your lineup:

1. Johnny Damon, CF
2. Derek Jeter, SS
3. Bobby Abreu, RF
4. Alex Rodriguez, 3B
5. Jason Giambi, DH
6. Xavier Nady, LF
7. Robinson Cano, 2B
8. Wilson Betemit, 1B
9. Jose Molina, C

And on the mound, number thirty-five, Mike Mussina.

Game 119: Holy crap you guys …

Jason Giambi is sitting against a lefty again. Oh, and so is Johnny Damon. Sure Giambi’s OPSing 1.375 on the road trip, Damon’s hitting .406 in the last 7 games, and lefties are hitting .338 off Glen Perkins, but hey, let’s sit them anyway. Not like the team is in a Wildcard chase or anything.

Damaso Marte is likely to be unavailable tonight after throwing 29 pitches yesterday thanks to that inexplicable second inning of work. Unfortunately Minnesota’s 3-4-5 hitters tonight happen to be Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau and Jason Kubel (the same combo manager Ron Gardenhire has been using for about a month-and-a-half), all lefthanded batters. So when push comes to shove in the late innings tonight, get ready for some Edwar Ramirez change-up action, or even … gasp … Billy Traber. Heck, even if Marte is available, he’s going to be gassed.

So remind me again, what was so bad about Joe Torre running mediocre middle relievers like Scott Proctor and Tanyon Sturtze into the ground? Hey, I wonder if that whole fiasco about IPK’s comments would have been so ridiculously blown out of proportion if Torre was around to work his media magic …

1. Christian, LF
2. Jeter, SS
3. Abreu, RF
4. A-Rod, 3B
5. Nady, DH
6. Cano, 2B
7. Sexson, 1B
8. Pudge, C
9. Melky, CF

And on the mound, Sidney “will pitch for food” Ponson.

Notes: Pudge has actually turned Sid Ponson into a pretty decent starter, squeezing a 2.03 ERA & .519 OPS against out of him in their two starts together (SSS, yes I know) … Joba’s going to start his throwing program on Wednesday … Hideki Matsui is close to beginning a rehab assignment

(forgive me, I’m just frustrated that the manager continues to not put the team in the best position to win during one of the more critical stretches of the season)

Game 117: Escape from LAnaheim

The Angels have lefty Joe Saunders on the mound, so you know what that means: No Giambi. I’ve long been a Saunders fan, but this isn’t exactly Randy Johnson in his prime. Giambi’s got a 1.457 OPS on the road trip, and the team needs as many wins as possible. He should be in the lineup, no doubt about it.

Billy Traber’s in the house, even though he provides as little relief as a relief pitcher possibly could. Not sure what the corresponding roster move is yet, but we’ll let you know. Ian Kennedy was optioned to Triple-A Scranton to make room. PeteAbe says he apologized for his comments the other day, and was given specific instructions on what to work on.

1. Damon, DH
2. Jeter, SS
3. Abreu, RF
4. A-Rod, 3B
5. Nady, LF – .346-.426-.755 as a Yank … if he keeps hitting like this & the Yanks make the playoffs, his performance will be very reminiscant of this guy‘s
6. Cano, 2B
7. Dick Lock Sexy, 1B
8. Christian, CF
9. Molina, C

And on the mound, a guy who’s really gotta step it up the rest of the year, Andy Pettitte.

Game 117: O Joba, where art thou?

What do you get when Sidney Ponson is your No. 3 starter? Dan Giese on a Saturday in Anaheim. Not that Giese has been bad at all this season. He’s done more than any Yanks fan could have reasonably expected to this point. In more than one way, he’s looking like Aaron Small v2.0.

Maybe he can conjure some of that magic today. The Yanks need a win in a bad way. After going on an eight-game tear to start the second half, they’ve faltered since, going 5-8 in the subsequent 13. You’d like to see them go 4-1 over their next five, evening out the above mark to 9-9 over 18, heading into their first off-day since July 24.

Your lineup:

1. Johnny Damon, DH
2. Derek Jeter, SS
3. Bobby Abreu, RF
4. Alex Rodriguez, 3B
5. Jason Giambi, 1B
6. Xavier Nady, LF
7. Robinson Cano, 2B
8. Ivan Rodriguez, C
9. Melky Cabrera, CF

And on the mound, number 38, Dan Giese.

Game 116: A Fresh Start

Just over two years ago the Yanks spent the 21st overall pick in the draft on a polished college arm out of USC, one Mr. Ian Patrick Kennedy. The smallish righthander wasn’t your prototypical electric stuff guy, he was a high probabilty four pitch command guy that repeated his delivery like a robot. He was one of the unsexiest yet safest picks in the class.

Kennedy proved to be worth the pick his first full season as a professional baseball player, going 12-3 with a 1.91 ERA & 0.96 WHIP across three levels before being named Minor League Pitcher of the Year by milb.com, as well as Minor League Player of the Year by us here at RAB. He earned a September call-up and thrived in the shadow of Joba Chamberlain, twirling 19 innings of 236 ERA+ ball during the stretch run, including this gem up in Toronto. Baseball America rated him the 45th best prospect in the game during the offseason, and grabbed the sponsorship for his B-Ref page.

Kennedy was sidelined by a strain in his right lat-muscle for over a month this year, but has since returned to form during his rehab stint. Climbing the ladder from the Rooklie level GCL to Triple-A Scranton, Kennedy basically repeated his 2007 performance, posting a sub-2.00 ERA (1.99) and a sub-1.00 WHIP (0.88). He allowed 4 runs in his last 27 IP, including a near 7-inning no-hitter, before the Yanks once again called his name. Back home in front of friends and family tonight in Anaheim, Kennedy will look to stabilize a Yankee rotation plagued by injury and ineffectiveness.

Everyone deserves a second chance now and then. Kennedy starts fresh tonight.

Damon LF
Jeter SS
Abreu DH
Rodriguez 3B
Giambi 1B
Nady RF
Cano 2B
Cabrera CF
Molina C

Kennedy P

Notes: You want a good omen for tonight? Well here’s one: the only other time tonight’s starters (IPK & Jered Weaver) faced off was this game back in 2004, the first time Kennedy ever pitched for USC … if that’s not a sign of Kennedy starting off fresh tonight, nothing is … Hideki Matsui felt no pain in his knee after working out yesterday, a good sign … in case of chest hair emergency, pull tab quickly and back away … sorry folks, no DotF tonight (life interrupts blogging sometimes), so here’s the scoreboards for AAA, AA, A+, A-, SS & Rk … you can get to the box scores from there …