Oh, if only every game could go so smoothly. We worriers were biting our nails yesterday after the Tejada shot, but the norm was restored shortly thereafter as Randy cruised to an impressive win to take the series against the Orioles. His co-pilot, Giambi, carried the offense on his shoulders, tying the game within minutes of the Tejada homer, and putting the game all but out of reach with a two-run shot in the very next inning.
[MORE]Don’t forget about Andy Phillips in the mix of this. Not only was this his first game with a positive WE, but his RBI in the third inning was all Randy would need to shut down the Birds. Unfortunately, we know Joe won’t play him for another week now, and he’ll slip back into the same old routine of striking out and looking generally inept at the plate. Such a sad fate for a guy who could make a solid yet modest contribution off the bench. I’m starting to empathize with Aaron Gleeman, as the Yanks are doing to Phillips what the Twins are doing to Jason Kubel and Jason Bartlett.
You know, one year ago I – along with plenty of you out there – was signing Giambi’s death certificate. I figured that without steroids, he’d lack his normal power, but with his keen eye, could still rack up the walks and see enough good pitches to keep his average up. I think my direct quote was “dude, Giambi owes us a .310/.425 season. Anything short and he’s a freakin’ bum,” so a .224/.395 April wasn’t exactly winning me over. After he began his resurgence in June, I officially apologized, and would like to take this time to further apologize. The misjudgment was totally my fault; the power surge was unexpected, but any time you have a proven hitter with an Isolated Discipline rating of .171, an improvement is all but inevitable. Congrats, Jason.
So, in reality, we should have swept that Orioles series. I realize that umps are fallible, but the overhead view of strike three to Matsui clearly shows it was ball four. Clearly. That was the tying run, and while a victory surely wasn’t guaranteed at that point, I figure they could have gotten to the young Ray for one more, considering the bases were loaded. But that’s the beauty of a 162-game schedule; the Yanks can make up for that loss this coming week, as we take on those pesky Devil Rays and the Sox-killing Blue Jays.
I know Tampa was a thorn in our side last year, but I don’t expect that to continue this season. The Yankees have had their way with mediocre pitching of late, and Tampa Bay will shuttle out two of that breed this week. The biggest challenge will be getting past Scott Kazmir, who mowed down the Red Sox last week. Double D’oh: he’ll be up against Chien-Ming "Lack of Focus" Wang, which inspires exactly zero confidence. Update: Last night, ESPN had Kazmir scheduled for Wednesday against Wang when, in fact, he's going Tuesday against Moose. Just another reason to hate the boys from Bristol. I swear, if they didn't have such a comprehensive game log from years past (and didn't host my favorite writer, Bill Simmons), I'd just cut them out completely.
Triple D’oh: we’re seeing Jaret Wright on Saturday (unless Joe realizes that Proctor is the right guy for the gig), which means he’ll get into Tuesday and/or Wednesday’s game so he can keep sharp. And by keep sharp, I mean throw a few live pitches so he’ll only give up five runs instead of nine over three innings. Hopefully, another poor performance or two by Wright will inspire Cashman to give him the Quantrill/Stanton/Karsay treatment. Surely, the Yanks will buy out the final year of Wright’s deal at season’s end, meaning he’s in the last year of his deal, much like the aforementioned trio. He’s vastly overpaid to vastly underperform, making him expendable, also much like the aforementioned trio. And with Carl Pavano, Aaron Small, and Octavio Dotel set to return from the DL over the course of the next month and a half (a lil optimistic for Pavano, maybe), cuts will become necessity. While many want to see Sturtze jettisoned, I think I’d rather see Wright go first. Of course, the first move will be to demote Matt Smith, which I think is just plain foolish. Yeah, let’s forget about the relatively young, hard throwing lefty and let Wright and Sturtze lose us a few more games. Impeccable strategy.