Game 100: Rollin’

It’s hasn’t been pretty and it certainly hasn’t been textbook, but the Yanks have managed to trim a full three games off the division and Wildcard deficit since the All-Star Break. As the season hits the century mark in terms of games played, take solace in the fact that only five teams in the AL have a better winning percentage than the Yanks. By the end of the night that number could be down to just four.

The Twinkies managed to push a run across in the 9th inning last night, so this is another test for Joe’s yet to be unproven theory that if a team is being blown out and they score in the final innings, they’ll carry that momentum into the next game for a win. Tonight would be a great night to disprove that theory.

Kevin Slowey’s been pounded his last two starts, but that means diddly squat tonight. Yes, I just said diddly squat.

1. Damon, DH – so much for that 0-fer I was talking about yesterday
2. Jeter, SS
3. Abreu, RF
4. A-Rod, 3B
5. Giambi, 1B
6. Cano, 2B
7. Cabrera, CF
8. Moeller, C
9. Gardner, LF

And on the mound, Darrell “From Waiver Claim to Yankee Fame” Rasner.

Notes: Rasner is 3-2 with a 2.67 ERA when Moeller catches him, 2-5 with a 6.87 ERA when anyone else is behind the dish … Dan Giese has pitched one inning in the last 19 days … Triple-A reliever Steven White is missingMelky Cabrera has a 70 OPS+ this month, his second highest monthly mark behind April (135)

Game 99: Johnny’s back, but it’s probably too soon

It’s nice to have Johnny Damon back atop the lineup, especially considering that the Yanks score 1.22 more runs per game when he’s playing, but am I the only one that thinks a minor league rehab stint would be in order, even if it was just a 3-gamer with the nearby Staten Island Yanks? I mean, he last played in a game on the 4th of July, so it’s been 17 days since he faced live pitching. Plus check this out: with the Damon in the lineup, the Yanks are 41-41, but without him they’re 12-4. I dunno about you, but I smell a nice 0-fer coming tonight.

While getting Damon back is big news, the far bigger news is that Jorge Posada has been placed on the DL and is probably done for the year. While his throwing has deterioriated immensely, his bat remained a weapon (109 OPS+) and downright Ruthian compared to Jose Molina (48 OPS+, yikes). Luckily the 3rd Annual Robinson Cano Second Half Surge has begun, but the Yanks are still going to need some other guys to pick up the slack (I’m lookin’ at you, kid). Maybe they can buy low Josh Bard, who’s currently playing in rehab games after having his season derailed by Albert Pujols.

1. Damon, DH
2. Jeter, SS
3. Abreu, RF
4. A-Rod, 3B
5. Giambi, 1B
6. Cano, 2B
7. Melky, CF
8. Molina, C
9. Gardner, LF

And on the mound, the Amazin’ Arubian, Sidney Ponson.

Game 98: Time to make a move

Including today, 11 of the Yanks next 14 games are at home, the lone exception being a three game set in Fenway next weekend. The wins don’t have to be textbook, they all count the same.

Some stats for you:

  • Since June 14th, Robinson Cano is hitting .350-.373-.534 with a grand total of six strikeouts in 103 at-bats. The Annual Robinson Cano Second Half Surge is officially underway.
  • Hat tip to PeteAbe on this one: Edwar Ramirez hasn’t allowed a hit in his last 9 IP, striking out 14 in the process. Kyle Farnsworth is 1 inning away from his own hidden no-no. Crazy.
  • Since moving to the rotation on June 3rd, Joba Chamberlain‘s 2.64 ERA is the 15th best amongst starters in all of baseball. It’s the 7th best mark in the AL. His 10.20 Kper9 is 4th best in all the land. Could the transition have gone any better?
  • When I post the game thread, the Yanks are 13-7, good for a .650 winning percentage. When Joe posts it, they’re 18-21, or a .492 winning percentage. Ben? 21-17, or a .553 win %. You’ll be seeing less of Joe and more of me in the coming weeks.

1. Jeter, SS
2. Abreu, RF
3. A-Rod, 3B
4. Giambi, DH
5. Cano, 2B
6. Betemit, 1B
7. Cabrera, CF
8. Molina, C
9. Gardner, LF

And on the bump, the grizzled vet, Andy Pettitte. He’ll be opposed by All-Star Justin Duchscherer, the guy with a .213 BABIP. I believe the term is “completely unsustainable.”

Game 97: Rookie vs Rookie

Sean Gallagher, recently acquired in the Rich Harden deal, toes the rubber for his second start in green and gold today. In his first outing he shut down the team with the best record in baseball, and he’s one of the most unheralded good young pitchers in baseball. Pitchers like this tend to … uh … “frustrate” the Yanks, so it’ll be a nice test for the Little $200M Engine That Could.

Yesterday’s win was a quality one, they got big hits with two outs, Moose battled early then retired the last 13 men he faced, and the bullpen finished the game off with three perfect frames without a ball leaving the infield. If you created a blueprint for a win, that’s how you’d draw it up. Let’s do it again.

1. Jeter, SS
2. Abreu, RF
3. A-Rod, 3B
4. Giambi, DH
5. Posada, C
6. Cano, 2B
7. Betemit, 1B
8. Cabrera, CF
9. Gardner, LF

And on the mound, the Winnebago Wonder, the Corn-Hustler, The Bachelor Wannabe, Joba “more popular than Wilt” Chamberlain.

Game 96: That was a good year

Ah the ’96 season. Easily my favorite of the Championship years. Who could forget Doc and Jimmy, Zim and Big Cecil, the rookie sensation and the rookie dud, the new manager coming in and the old icon leaving, and of course, the winning. Goodness, did that team win. They won on the first day of season, they won on the last day of the season, and they won 101 times in between. That team wasn’t expected to win, but they did anyway.

Fast forward to 2008, and most consider this Yankees’ team dead in the water. The six game deficit is too big, the offense is too anemic, the rotation is too thin, and the bullpen is too flaky. No one expects them to win, but let’s do it anyway.

1. Jeter, SS
2. Abreu, RF
3. A-Rod, 3B
4. Posada, DH
5. Dick Lock Sexy, 1B
6. Cano, 2B
7. Melky, CF
8. Hava Molina, C
9. Gardner, LF

And on the mound, the man with a 2.74 ERA in his last 52 IP, Mikey Moose.

Notes: Billy Traber was shipped to AAA & Phil Hughes was retroactively placed on the 60-day DL to clear 25 & 40-man roster spots for DLS … Oaktown’s throwing a southpaw, so obviously Jason Giambi would be more useless than Jose Molina tonight, or maybe he’s just nursing a hangover … the game is on MY9 tonight, not YES …

Game 95: What do Brett Gardner and Clay Buchholz have in common?

They both steal every chance they get! I couldn’t resist.

Last year at the break, the Yanks were 43-43, 9.5 GB of the division lead and 8 back of the Wildcard. This year heading into the break, they’ll be no worse than 50-45, 6.5 GB in the division and 6 back for the Wildcard. The season is a long ways from over folks.

1. Jeter, SS
2. Abreu, RF
3. A-Rod, 3B
4. Giambi, DH
5. Posada, C
6. Cano, 2B
7. Melky, CF
8. Betemit, 1B
9. Gardner, CF

On the mound, the undisputed staff ace, Andy Pettitte.

Note: The rotation after the break wil be Moose, Joba, Pettitte, Ponson Rasner … the team will wear black arm bands the rest of the season in memory of Bobby Murcer … the Futures Game is on ESPN2 right now, so grab a grab a glimpse of Jesus Montero