Briefly on tonight’s game: With a very shaky Kyle Farnsworth on the mound — you jinxed him, Mike — Torre turned to Mariano Rivera to get a one-out save. Rivera gave up an RBI to Aubrey Huff before striking out Melvin Mora, the potential tying run, to end the game. In the 9th, Torre had two choices: Use someone else in a four-run game to give Rivera the night off or go with the best available option to nail down the save.
If Torre goes with someone else and that someone else coughs up the lead, Torre gets roasted. If Torre goes with Rivera in a sheer sign of desperation and overuses his best reliever some more, Torre get roasted. So it’s a no-win situation in a game that adds another tally to the Yanks’ win column.
I pose the question to you then: What do you do in the 9th inning? Do you go with Rivera even after he threw 29 pitches the night before or do you turn the ball over to one of the other guys in the pen, say Ross Ohlendorf or Chris Britton, and hope they can retire someone from the bottom of the Orioles’ lineup without giving up four runs?
I know what you’re thinking: Uh, oh, Daniel Cabrera and the Orioles. And, hey, don’t the Yankees always lose games like this?
After yesterday’s dramatic win, the Yanks face off against the Orioles tonight. All season long, the Orioles have been a thorn in the Bombers’ collective side. The Yankees are just 4-8 against a team that is 64-84. Imagine if the Orioles represent the difference between the AL East and the Wild Card or, even worse, the Wild Card and a playoff-less October. These two teams play six more teams this year, and the Yanks very well could have their playoff fate determined by the Orioles.
But I’m not ready to write off tonight’s game as one of those let-down games. We’ve got Phil Hughes on the mound. He’s pitching for his place in the postseason rotation. And the Yanks aren’t facing the same Oriole team they battled against earlier this year. Baltimore, since Dave Trembely was named permanent manager, have gone 6-19 over their last 25 games. They’ve given up 10 runs or more eight times during that stretch and managed to allow 30 runs in one game in August.
As the Indians and Tigers prepare to do battle in the Central, the Yanks need these games. With a 2.5-game Wild Card lead, they control their own fate. Winning games against the Orioles will make the team feel better about their playoff hopes, and it will make us feel better about this team come October.
Meanwhile, submit your fan-on-the-field captions here.
Thirteen games left. Melky, hitting .190/.242/.241 this month, takes a seat tonight, and the Yanks put their sub-par defensive outfield out there.
Johnny Damon CF – Yikes
Derek Jeter SS – What a weekend: 5 for 14 with 2 HR and 5 RBI.
Bobby Abreu RF
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Hideki Matsui LF
Jorge Posada C
Jason Giambi DH
Robinson Cano 2B
Doug Mientkiewicz 1B – Looks like we were right about this one for now.
Phil Hughes P
While some Red Sox fans are less than thrilled with Shelley Duncan’s classless-but-hilarious autograph, the Fenway Faithful managed to out-class (or is that out-classless?) the Yankees. And the stadium security forces weren’t much better.
Yesterday, during the Seventh Inning, after Eric Hinske doubled, a Boston fan ran onto the field, stole Robinson Cano‘s hat, tried to high-five Hinske and was finally, mercifully tackled in the outfield by security. In an age when we have to worry about fans attacking base coaches, how did this guy manage to get to second base, steal a hat off a player and find his way into the outfield before the obligatory security pile-on? That’s pretty terrible work by the Red Sox’s security forces.
But righteous outrage aside, Yankee fans can have some fun with this one. Below is the photo of the fan being tackled. Your job? Caption it. Leave your responses in the comments and we’ll do something with our favorite choices. Maybe we’ll all vote on it. The winner gets undying recognition and unconditional love.
The Post, ever the paragon of investigative journalism in New York City, found that New York City Transit police were blocking the emergency exits at the Yankee Stadium subway stops. Read all about it at Second Ave. Sagas. · (0) ·
Based on this post by Peter Abraham, I have to believe that Doug Mientkiewicz is the starting first baseman going forward. Last night, he put on a show at first base and went 2-for-3 with a run scored. Torre loves the defense at first. So, for better or worse, at this point, it’s Dougie’s job to lose. · (10) ·
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Oh, and Red Sox fans, the loss column is on the right.
I hate to anoint any game a must-wing game, but tonight’s game is as close to a must-win as any the Yanks have played this season. In Minneapolis, the Tigers scored four early runs and held on late to sweep the Twins this weekend. So the Yanks find themselves up by just 2 in the Wild Card race and in need of a win.
Meanwhile, the Yanks are going with a different look tonight. Hideki Matsui, he of the hot July, has hit two home runs since August 1. During that span, he’s hitting a quiet .277/.358/.392 in 148 at bats. His September is worse: .125/.308/.200 in 40 at bats with just two extra base hits. He’s sitting tonight.
Jason Giambi, the victim of an HBP retaliation yesterday that angrily did not result in any ejections, is out of the lineup while Jorge Posada DHs after his jarring collusion with Eric Hinske. Giambi, who hadn’t looked great in the field this weekend, will be replaced by Doug Mientkiewicz. This game marks Mientkiewicz’s first start since June.
It’s a matchup for the ages — or at least six years ago — as Roger Clemens and Curt Schilling face off. This matchup was the main attraction for the heartbreaking game 7 of the 2001 World Series. On the plus side, this game could be a six-inning affair. Joba’s available for two tonight and Rivera is rested and ready as well. Here we go.
New York Yankees
Boston Red Sox