Sunday, April 29, 2007

Like Old Times

Everything is right in Yankee-land, at least for one day. The starter, or in this case a starter banished to the bullpen, gets a late-inning lead to the bullpen, sprinkle in a few clutch hits, and Rivera slams the door in the ninth. The old formula, on a day they really needed it.

The analysis must start with Kei Igawa. Up to this point he appeared to be a lost cause, another ludicrous Yankee contract. A soft-tosser unable to locate a fastball, or throw a dominant breaking pitch, usually struggles through a mediocre minor league career. Yesterday, he located the fastball, setting up his above-average change-up, and wholla, he had Red Sox hitters off-balance all day, right from inducing a ground-ball double play from David Ortiz, the first batter he faced. With all the injuries, and Karstens now out of the picture with the leg injury, I bet Igawa earns another start immediately. But before hopping on the Igawa Express, it did take six shutout innings to lower his ERA to 6.08, so let’s see it again.

Offensively, it was the old stand-bys coming through, Jeter and Posada. Meanwhile, Abreu and Cano continue to rack up the big LOB numbers in the box score. These hitters, and the Matsui’s and Damon’s of the world, need to start hitting, and hitting in the clutch. And the pitching was not flawless. Case in point, the ulcers Kyle Farnsworth caused in the 8th inning. I stand by my words, he will NOT be the primary setup pitcher by mid-May. Farnsworth reminds me of Tom Gordon pitching in Boston in the playoffs everytime he takes the mound.

The Yanks need to build on this game. What could have been disastrous, after Karstens’ injury on the first pitch, and a six game losing streak, Torre’s bunch finally showed some spunk. Now they send their ace to mound. Its hard to put a pitcher making only his second start of the year on the spot, but Wang needs to keep the momentum going today. This could be the weekend they look back as turning around the season, or it could be the one that killed the season. Its only April, but in Yankees world, the season is always on the line.


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