Darrell Rasner (0–1, 10.38 ERA) vs. Joe Blanton (1–0, 3.97 ERA)
The Yanks opened their series in Oakland on a sour note last night, thanks to the red-tard pictured to the right.
Tonight, at 9 p.m., they will try to even the score. Darrell Rasner will take the hill in Carl Pavano’s absence. Pavano is out with a strained forearm, or a knot in his forearm, or some other forearm-related injury.
On really alarming trend reared its ugly head last night. Joe Torre seems loathe to play small ball. He’s falling into the Earl Weaver, three-run homerun trap, and that’s not a good sign. Damon, Jeter and A-Rod are legit stolen base threats. They should all be running early and often against Jeff Kendall’s week arm. McAffee is a pitcher’s park, runs are at a premium, the Yanks need to manufacture some to win this series, and they need to be accustomed to playing that type of ball when the playoffs come.
In a nutshell: Here we go again with the rotation. Igawa went 5.1 innings last night, Mussina went 2 the game before. Proctor’s been so-so, Farnsworth’s been horrible. Bruney and Vizcaino each pitched more than an inning last night. If Rasner can’t go deep into this game, Sean Henn is going to have to eat innings.
Keys to the game: Blanton is a middle-of-the-road starter, the Yanks need to jump on him early and keep the pressure on by playing small ball, and capitalizing on every baserunner.