Wednesday, October 04, 2006

It's a Start


The Yankees won the first of hopefully 11 games this post season over the Tigers last night. They won with offense and decent starting pitching. It was not Wang at his best, but it was good enough last night. The bullpen came in for a shaky 1.1 innings before turning the ball over to the greatest closer since death to wrap things up in the ninth.

The NY press and Tim McCarver have already decided that the bullpen is going to be the weak spot for the Yankees. That is based on one game. McCarver called the bullpen the "soft underbelly" of the Yankees. I believe he referred to them that way at least three times last night. I guess he was waiting for someone to acknowledge his cleverness. I thought that it was a curious move for Joe to take out Wang in the 7th when he had retired 6 batters in a row and was under 100 pitches. I don't really like to second guess Joe, but that decision really didn't make sense to me. It almost backfired as Myers gave up a solo home run and Proctor gave up two singles before getting Ordonez to fly out to end the inning. Farnsworth was a little wild last night, but he did manage to get out of the eight inning without giving up a hit or a run. The Yankees didn't use Brian Brunney last night and Proctor only threw 12 pitches, so both should be available for tonight. I don't understand why the press has decided that the Yankee bullpen is so weak. They aren't the best bullpen in the playoffs, but they aren't the worst either. They are going to have bad moments (like last night), but I think it's far too small a sample to say that they are going to be terrible or as the great McCarver put it "the soft underbelly" of the team. I think we should start a running count of how many times McCarver actually uses that term during this post season.

Jeter, Abreu and Giambi all came up big for the Yanks last night. Jeter went five for five and I think you could practically feel the man love dripping from the Fox both last night. Abreu, in his first playoff start, drove in the most important runs of the game. He started the Yankee scoring with a two run single in the third and he added two insurance runs in the 7th when the lead was cut to two runs. Giambi put the punctuation mark on the five run outburst in the 3rd inning with a two run home run. The Yankees put together six straight hits in the 3rd inning and showed just what kind of damage they can do when the offense is running on all cylinders.

It was a good start, and as Joey Fagan said, I believe in starts. But as Joey also said, remember people, Rome wasn't built in a day. We shouldn't get too excited about one win. It's obviously better than the alternative, but in baseball, momentum is always your next days starter. So let's hope that Mussina can keep it going. The Yankees are facing the probable rookie of the year and Detroit's best starter in Justin Verlander today. If they Yankees can manage to win tonight's game, then it's on to Detroit to face the gambler, Kenny Rogers. Rogers has an absolutely terrible post season record and has a track record of coming up small in big games. A win tonight and it looks like a sweep might be order. Of course a lot depends on tonight and then it will be up to the balky back of Randy Johnson. Randy had an epidural on his back last week. They give those to women during pregnancy, so I have no idea what kind of performance we can expect from him. A herniated disk sounds painful and pitching in the playoffs does sound like something that's going to make it feel a whole lot better. Anyway, let's hope for a win tonight and that Tim McCarver doesn't find anymore soft underbellies.

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