The Yanks brought a 3-game winning streak with them to the park tonight in K.C., standing between them and their fourth consecutive win was a rookie pitcher with a major league pedigree, Brian Bannister (son of Floyd
). Bannister has put together a solid rookie season for the Royals (12-7, 3.16 ERA, 1.15 WHIP coming into the game).
As it turned out, Bannister wasn't much of an obstacle. In fact, he did a very convincing Dice-K impersonation
, only he lasted longer before imploding. The kid served up two b.p. fastballs to A-Rod on 3-1 counts, both left the yard. Alex now has 51 hrs, 130 runs scored and 138 RBI. If Matsui can break out of his slump, A-Rod has a very good shot at finishing with 60, 150 and 150 or more.
Pettitte and the offense really picked up the team on day when both were needed. Joba, the Viz and Farnsworth were all unavailable. The Yanks pulled out a win while only using Britton, Bruney and Edwar out of the pen. That's huge at this time of the year.
One thing to keep an eye on: Tomorrow is going to be our first chance to see if the "Joba Rules" have truly been amended. Joba threw 29 pitches in two innings on Friday night, I have a feeling he will be available for an inning tomorrow. Monday is an off day, and we've reached the point where every game is a must win for this team.
Here's some A.L. East math for you. After the Sox embarrassing loss to Baltimore tonight they stand 5.5 games ahead of the Yanks, 5 in the loss column. With 20 games to go, I'd say the absolute best we can hope for is a 15-5 finish, and that's stretching it. This means Boston would have to finish 9-10 for the season to end in a tie. It seems like a bit of a stretch, because it is. BUT,
if the Yanks continue to beat Boston's starting pitching like a rented mule, and they pull off another sweet against Boston next weekend, the road looks a little less bumpy. In a nutshell, the Yanks would have to go 12-5, in these games: 1 @ K.C.; 3 @ Toronto; 3 vs. Baltimore; 4 vs. Toronto; 3 @ Tampa; 3 @ Baltimore. Win tomorrow's game, and then win every remaining series and you've got your 12 wins.
Obviously, this is all predicated on a sweep at Boston, which is possible, but far from a certainty. For Boston's part, they'd have to finish 9-7 in the following games: 1 @ Baltimore; 3 vs. Tampa; 3 @ Toronto; 3 @ Tampa; 2 vs. Oakland; 4 vs. Minnesota. Boston has played to a 0.589 winning percentage since the break, so this total is pretty much exactly what you'd expect.
It's possible, don't give up hope just yet, Yankee fans.
Player of The Game:
Alexander The Great.
The Wanger goes for win #18 tomorrow. There was one dose of bad news today, Jeter left with a knee injury and will miss tomorrow's game. Peter Abraham is saying knee tendinitis
. I think Jeter could miss more than just the one day, if Alberto Gonzalez is as good with the glove as everyone says, I bet he'll be at short for the series in Toronto as well, you don't want Jeter playing on that turf, if you can help it.