Game 49

Rogers113 Games left in the season and the Yankees have a lot of work to do.  Coming into tonight’s game against the Blue Jays (22-27), the Bombers are looking up at 12.5 games they need to make up if they want to make this the tenth straight season with a division title, an achievement just about everyone is saying can’t be done.

Yesterday in the Daily News, the Yankees comparison to the 1978 was mocked by most saying that the team that went on to overcome 14 games back in July and win the World Series was much different than the team we are presented with in 2007.

But, this team has yet to show its true colors and you have to believe tonight is the night that the Yankees begin a historic comeback.  There is always that chance that Matt DeSalvo will fold tonight and McGowan who a 7.17 ERA will pitch a gem and shutdown the Bombers who have done anything but bomb the opposition this season.

Tonight could be the start of something the Yankees need more than ever.  That run that Joe Torre keeps waiting for when they win 9 of 10, putting together a serious string of wins.  There is not a much better time than against the Jays, a division opponent and team struggling just like the Bombers.  There truly is no better time because the Yankees are running out of time.

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Moose continues to lose

When I complained about Mike Mussina receiving two years at$25 million this off-season I was right. The Moose was horrible
once again, this time against the Red Sox, and this time for a chance at a
sweep against the division rival. The
right handed washed up veteran has two wins this season, both against the
Rangers, who are nothing special, with the Bombers being 5-1 against them and
15-23 against the rest of the league, in other words a quarter of Yankee wins
have been against the terrible team from Texas.

Moose is getting gradually worse, and the rotation is slowly losing a
spot for him as Tyler Clippard and Matt DeSalvo have shined and Philip Hughes
starting his hamstring rehab period. With the Rocket coming back the Moose should be sent to left center with
the relievers to watch Yankees baseball from 400 feet away, as far as we can
get him besides being a paying spectator.

But the problem with Mussina is that Joe Torre is too loyal to the man
who has done nothing for Joe, including zero rings in six seasons in the Bronx,
and holds a playoff record that is under .500 during his tenure in
pinstripes. Is there anyone else that
Joe would let go out there for the seventh inning in a 4-2 game, and is there
anyone that Joe would let stay out there after a leadoff walk? The answer is no. Joe would be more likely to have taken Wang
during his near perfect game then Moose in 4-2 Yankees/Red Sox game when the
Bombers need momentum and a series win. Here
is a breakdown of Mike Mussina and his collapse at the age of 38 and the
beginning of a new two-year deal:

VS BAL – L, 4 IP, 8 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 0 HR, 3 BB, 4 K

@ MIN – 2 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 1 BB, 0 K

@  TEX – W, 5 IP, 4 H,
1 R, 1 ER, 0 HR, 0 BB, 3 K

VS TEX – W, 6 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 HR, 0 BB, 2 K

@ CWS – L, 5.1 IP, 8 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 2 HR, 0 BB, 1 K 

VS BOS – L, 6.2 IP, 10 H, 7 R, 7 ER, 2 HR, 1BB, 2 K

10 back

EndyThe New York Yankees have earned the reputation of being a
horrible spring team. Between April and
May, the Bombers seem to be in the basement before turning it on right before
the

Bronx

is filled with spectators in shorts
and t-shirts. However, the loss against
the Mets on Friday night, a devastating 3-2 heartbreaker, a game where Andy
Pettitte threw seven quality innings and then watched his offense tank once
again leave him with a 2-3 record and the team at 18-22. Pettitte moved under .500 on the season like
his club has been for the majority of the season and his 2.83 ERA is very
similar to his and Roger Clemens’ efforts in

Houston

. But, when Andy’s pal, Roger Clemens announced he would be returning to
the Yankees on May 6, everyone thought that would spark the Bombers to turn it
around and begin to dominate the league. They have gone 4-7 since the announcement.

Breaking
down the Yankees is pretty easy. Derek
Jeter and Jorge Posada are the only people hitting with Hideki Matsui in spurts
starting to turn it around. The big
bats, A-Rod, Abreu, and Giambi have been horrendous and continue to slump,
causing the Yankees who were once 7-2 in May and on their way up to now be 9-8
in the month. If you look at the team
even a little closer, the record speaks for itself, but inside those 18 wins
and 22 losses, there are some very telling signs.

It is no
secret the Yanks have been an awful road team (8-13), but their loss to the
Metropolitans dropped them to 4-14 in games decided by one and two runs. In the game that ended 3-2 to tonight in
favor of the boys from Queens, the Bombers fell to 1-9 in games where they
score three runs or less, and as the Mets continue to lead their division (two
games up on the idle Braves), Joe Torre and gang are 9-14 against teams .500 or
better, a record that needs to vastly improve if October is in their minds.

When the
Yankees were looking to turn things around, mainly against the Rangers who they
are 5-1 on the season against, they were putting up crooked numbers game after
game, ranking them first among all 30 offenses in the league, giving them a
15-6 mark when they score five runs or more.

“It’s
getting late early out here is a quote I have used before. Even though it might be a little cliché and
over done, Yogi Berra was right when he trademarked that Yogism. However, it is time to start worrying as the
Red Sox lead hit double digits Friday night, but looking at the past the
Yankees have a history of slow springs, well at least since 2004, the year
A-Rod put on the pinstripes.

The last
time the Yankees went to the World Series, they were 20-6 in April and were
31-19 (.620) after May. Since then, the
Yankees are 43-48 in April, but have always turned it around in May (62-36). The Yankees have eleven games left in May,
two against the Mets, three against the Red Sox, three against the Angels, and
three against the Blue Jays. Three of
the four are first in their division, and the Blue Jays are no push over, going
5-2 after losing nine straight.

The Yankees
need to go 8-3 in the last 11 game of May just to get over .500 on the season
and remain in reach of the Red Sox. In
the mean time, they play Boston three times in
the Bronx, where they are 1-2 against the Sox
this season. The Yankees need to turn
this thing around starting tomorrow afternoon at Shea Stadium. Boston comes to the Stadium on Monday, the
Yankees better not be worse than ten games back, or the return of the Rocket
and the final four months of the season might be meaningless.

Goose egg

You can’t win games when you don’t score runs.  The Yankees problem had been getting good pitching before, now that they found some good pitching, they aren’t helping it out.

10.2 innings pitched from Darrell Rasner over his previous two starts and only 3 runs allowed by him.  Tonight Joe Torre took the right hander out too early (after the 5th with 78 pitches) and who else came in but Mr. Proctor, it wouldn’t be a Yankees game if Scott Proctor didn’t pitch.  I forgot, but isn’t he part of the formula when the Bombers are winning to hold the lead?  Now he is pitching when we are down by three with plenty of other bullpen options.

But, Rasner was not the problem.  Bobby Abreu (.243), Robinson Cano (.242), and Hideki Matsui (.243) continued to swing at pitches nowhere near being called strikes and the breaking balls from Washburn had Abreu looking he was just called up to the bigs for the first time as Abreu continues to slump terribly and hurt the Yankees at the top of the lineup.
Its usually Johnny Damon sitting out with calf strains, but available to pinch hit later in the game, but tonight the injured Yankee out of the lineup was Jason Giambi as he sat out with bone spurs, (thought Torre might have kept him out with ridiculous precautions), but it is hard to win ball games with a different lineup each night (not counting the switches of Mientkiewicz and Phelps).  Jason is making $23,428,571 without having to use a glove.  He’s really earning that paycheck sitting on the bench, unavailable for four at bats as the DH.

Frustration is setting is as it had begun to fade last week when the Yankees looked like they were actually starting to heat up and were going to go on a serious roll here before hitting the part in their schedule that includes the White Sox, Mets, Red Sox, Angels, Blue Jays, Red Sox, and White Sox, all in that order.  Maybe the Blue Jays are not what they could have been given the injuries they are currently dealing with, however all seven of those series are against contending teams.

There is still time left in May and the Yankees are 7-4 in the month with 17 games left in the month after finish five games under .500 in April.  With Matt DeSalvo going tomorrow to work off his incredible first start and Andy Pettitte set to go on Sunday, the Yankees need to pick up these two wins before heading to Chicago.  They are getting the pitching, it’s time to start hitting.

Yanks get robbed, Rocket throws

Cano One of the worst call that has ever been made last night happened last night when Robinson Cano dropped down a tag to catch Seattle’s Willie Bloomquist from stealing, and though the tag had Bloomquist by a good two feet, umpire crew chief Jerry Davis, missed the call leading to an RBI single by Kenji Johjima, tying the game at two.  Then, Mariano left at the top of the strike zone for Adrian Beltre to deposit over the left field wall.

Down 3-2, the Yankees had their chance with two outs and Jeter moving to second on a passed ball, but all Bobby Abreu could do was take a pitch right down the middle to end the game looking.  Yankees lose 3-2 and fall to 14-16.

The Bombers could have moved to .500 with that win and really begun to climb the standings starting with a Texas team that they swept last week.  Instead they will need to win two of three to get to .500 and sweep to get to 17-16. 

On another note, Roger Clemens was at the University of Kentucky today throwing and getting ready for his return to the Yankees.  The Rocket is in Kentucky to attend his son, Koby’s, minor league game. 

Carl Pavano is still not officially a lost cause though he is close to be.  He is visiting more doctors as Brian Cashman hopes someone will say he can pitch, then Pavano will have no option and won’t be sitting in the dugout where he doesn’t belong.

April showers bring…THE ROCKET

Rocket_1He’s back, and earlier than expected.  Roger Clemens has returned to the Bronx and will join a rotation that currently holds Chien-Ming Wang, Andy Pettitte, and Mike Mussina.  With the outing Darrell Rasner gave today, he might be back after he is optioned out.  Philip Hughes is playing catch and looks to be back in four to six weeks.

The Rocket is back, and the reaction in the Bronx today was just what this team needed.  Between a shutout win, a strong starting pitching performance, and Hideki Matsui joining the coveted Meikyukia club, Japan’s highest sports honor, Roger Clemens announced his return and like Michael Kay has said before "pandemonium in the Bronx."

What does this mean for the Yankees?  Well, for one, their rotation is starting to shape up.  Now that they are getting healthy, the Bombers will be able to make up the lost ground from their April troubles as they have already started out 5-1 in May.

Clemens will give the Yankees great pitching, and as you can see by his numbers in Houston, he hasn’t lost a step since he left the Bronx, and he is hungry to get his third ring in pinstripes.  Clemens will be able to teach Philip Hughes his own tricks and get the youngster prepared to be the next ace in the Yanks’ rotation of the future.

Roger Clemens was throwing in the bullpen after the game today.  The Yankees are heating up and it’s only a matter of time until the Rocket returns to the hill.

Wang looks for win

Chien-Ming Wang has only made one start this season, one where is wasn’t his best, but gave the Yankees a chance to win.  Today, Wang will face the Red Sox in the rubber match of this three-game set, and try to improve the Yankees to 10-13 on the season and lead them in the right direction to climbing the standings before the Bombers meet their division rival at the end of May.  At that point in the season, it would only be logical to think that the Yanks and Sox would be one and two, maybe not in that order.

Doug Mientkiewicz is back in the lineup today due to the amount of ground balls thrown by Wang, and Melky Cabrera is back on the bench after having a key ground rule double to make it 3-0, a run that was much needed since the tying run came to the plate for Boston in the ninth.

Mariano looked like the Mo of old yesterday, and hopefully will get a chance to pitch again.  Also, in the pen if the Bruney-Farnsworth-Rivera combination can do all season what they did yesterday, then the Bombers after the sixth should lock it up like the days of ’96.

Gametime, 1:05 PM.