Game 138: It’s like the 2003 ALCS all over again

Roger Clemens is starting with Mike Mussina ready in the bullpen. Sound familiar?

Meanwhile, to address a point that Rich raised in the comments to this post, at some point, Joe Torre simply has to go with someone else from the bullpen. Sure, these guys won’t be consistent, but they will get outs. Edwar Ramirez had one great inning yesterday, and he could have done that in the 7th with Joba in the 8th.

No one has a sure-fire bullpen anymore, but other managers trust their relievers enough to go to them in close games. If Torre is willing to use only two people when the Yanks are fighting for a game, the rest of Septembe — not to mention the playoffs — could be problematic too. It’s not ideal, but it’s better than watching Andy Pettitte, who has a history of elbow problems, throw 119 pitches in back-to-back starts.

The lineup that will face King Felix today:

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

Game 137: Just win baby

Joba’s fosh 2 game suspension is over and he’s available out of the ‘pen. Pity the D-Rays.

Lineup:

1. Johnny Damon, LF – how good has he been out in left?
2. Derek Jeter, SS
3. Bobby Abreu, RF
4. AL MVP, 3B
5. Hideki “don’t call me Kaz” Matsui, DH
6. Jorge Posada, C
7. Robbie Cano, 2B
8. Andy Phillips, 1B
9. Melky Cabrera, CF

Toeing the rubber is Andy Pettitte, who’s been every bit the ace that no one outside of Yankeeland said he would be.

(sorry for the pathetic post, I guess that’s what happens when you leave it to the minor league guy to cover the big league squad)

Game 136: The trifecta is complete

By the time you read this, I’ll be well on my way to TR 18, Row F, to watch Ian Patrick Kennedy make his Major League debut. Unlike Joba, Kennedy’s debut won’t come with fireworks. He’s a solid pitcher who relies on control and deception to get outs and keep hitters off balance. He profiles to a very solid number three starter in the Big Leagues, and right now, that’s all the Yanks need.

So discuss away, and hopefully the Yanks can win. They have to start winning on days when the Sox and Mariners lose. Maybe today could be that day.

1. Melky Cabrera, CF
2. Derek Jeter, SS
3. Bobby Abreu, RF
4. Alex Rodriguez, 3B
5. Hideki Matsui, LF
6. Jason Giambi, DH
7. Robinson Cano, 2B
8. Andy Phillips, 1B
9. Jose Molina, C

And on the mound, making his Major League debut, number 36, Ian Patrick Kennedy.

Game 135: Joba suspended, but it doesn’t matter

On the same day that we learned New York is Yankeetown, we also learned that Joba Chamberlain has been suspended a whopping two games for his “inappropriate actions during the top of the ninth” yesterday.

While Yankee fans are sure to be outraged, this is a token suspension. Major League Baseball knows how the Red Sox felt and they know the Joba Rules. The suspension assuages the Red Sox’s feelings and doesn’t really make Joba unavailable to the Yankees before his next scheduled pitch day anyway. You can thank this symbolic suspension on Joe Torre’s decision to run Joba out there in the 9th inning of a five-run game for that one.

Anyway, tonight’s opponent hails for Tampa Bay. Weighing in at 54-80, the Devil Rays are throwing Andy Sonnanstine against Phil Hughes. Sonnanstine is 3-9 with a 6.38 ERA; Hughes is 2-2 with a 5.35 ERA. The Yanks could use a good night offensively and a quality start from Phil. Check for Hughes’ velocity and location early. Those two will indicate whether tonight’s start is bound to be a success.

The Yanks are going with their A Team. If the playoffs started tomorrow, these would be your starting nine. Yes, Giambi’s at first.

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

Update (7:17 p.m.): Peter Abraham raised an interesting point today. With the Yankees sweeping the Red Sox yesterday, the Mets’ stunning loss and four-game sweep at the hands of the Phillies went largely unnoticed by the tabloids. You can bet that if the Red Sox had taken four from the Yankees during a pennant race in late August, the papers would be all over the Yanks. But the Mets, who now have just a two-game lead in their division, got a free pass. Interesting.

Game 134: Gunning for a sweep

I feel like last night’s game just ended. Do you?

We’ve got an afternoon special for everyone stuck at work with only Gameday, MLB.tv (if you’re out of market) or Gameday Audio as your company. Wang against the hated Curt Schilling.

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

And I’m going to Ian Kennedy’s debut this Saturday. Hopefully, I’ll take pictures but my seats are in the Tier Reserve, Section 18.

Update (1:16 p.m.): Joe’s enjoying this game from Section 39 today. So hopefully, he can bring us some good luck in the Stadium.

Update (2:45 p.m.): Joe is not enjoying this game from Section 39. Joe is back at home, because it took him two hours to make the 30-minute drive to the Stadium. It was there he met the worst gridlock he’s ever seen, so he turned around and went home, deathly afraid to see the roads parking lot after the game.

Update (3:59 p.m.): Chris Britton has been with the Yanks for three days now. He’s managed to make no appearances. Meanwhile, it’s 5-0 Yanks in the bottom of the 9th against the Red Sox and Edwar Ramirez is coming on. Why not Britton? Seriously, what did he do to Joe Torre?

Update (4:01 p.m.): So I spoke too soon. Not only is Joe Torre in a mortal fight with Chris Britton but apparently his brain froze too. The Yanks are using their relief ace for a second inning in a 5-0 game. That means he can’t pitch again until Sunday. With Ian Kennedy coming up, I would think Torre would want Chamberlain available as soon as possible. But then again, I’m probably thinking more than Torre is at this point.

Update (4:10 p.m.): For those of you watching on Gameday, Joba was ejected because the umpires are buffoons. He threw two pitches over the head of Youkilis, and Angel Hernandez, the home plate umpire, didn’t warn Joba. He simply threw him out. It’s inexplicable. No one wants to see Angel Hernandez eject someone. They want to see Joba pitch, and he’s certainly not intentionally hitting someone with a 5-run lead in the top of the 9th. Plus, with Joba’s control, if he was going to hit him, he would have hit him. It’s idiotic.

Trying something new: Game threads

So we have this threaded comments thing working, so we’re going to see what we can do with it. Other sites, like Pinstripe Alley and Pete Abraham’s blog, have game threads. Not to play the role of copycat (though by all appearances we are), we’re going to see how that would work ’round these parts. So comment, argue, debate, what have you during the game if you want. Should be a good ol’ time.

P.S. We’ll try to have the thread posted earlier than this on most days.

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

And on the mound, No. 35, Mike Mussina.