Thursday, July 24, 2008
To date, this is by far the most important week of the year for the NY Yankees. Three games vs. the Twins, followed by 3 games at Fenway Park.
Coming into the week I hoped for the Yankees to go 4-2.
But dam! The Yankees are hot. A 3 game sweep against Minnesota puts the Twins in the rearview mirror and the Yankees sitting alone in second place for the Wild Card.
Since the All Star Break, the Yankees have yet to lose, going 6-0. Yesterday's 5-1 win vs Minnesota gave New York their 10th consecutive home win.
A lot of New York's second half success has to do with the return of Johnny Damon from the DL and Robinson Cano pulling his annual coming out of hibernation for the second half. Cano had is 6th consecutive multi hit game yesterday.
Also, May 28th was the last time Joba Chamberlain made a relief appearance. The Yankees were in last place.
Since Joba has been in the starting rotation, the Yankees are 30-18 and in striking distance of not only the Wild Card, but first place for the Eastern Division. The Yankees are 6-3 in games which Chamberlain starts.
New York's bullpen has been doing just fine without Joba, the relievers have a combined 1.65 ERA for the last month. In his last 10 appearances, Kyle Farnsworth hasn't allowed a hit since June 22.
And now, the Yankees are looking up at the hated Red Sox, 3 games separating the two teams.
The Yankees have had trouble so far this year against the BoSox, going 4-5, and Boston has one of the best home records in baseball (36-11)
New York's rotation sets up nicely for the weekend series with Chamberlain, Andy Pettitte and the pleasant surprising pitching of Sidney Ponson.
The Red Sox will counter with Josh Beckett, Tim Wakefield and Jon Lester.
I would love a Yankees' sweep, and the way they're playing I wouldn't be surprised. But realistically I have to hope for 2 out of 3.
Funny, a couple of weeks the always heated rivalry didn't mean anything. Now, both teams are in position to lead the division.
And with the return of Big Papi, the atmosphere, excitement and emotion will be crazy yet once again for this heated rivalry.