In the past 6 hours Joe Torre has pulled all the right strings, with possibly one exception. Phil Hughes saved the Yankees season, or at least extended it one more day, when Joe called on him to relieve an ailing Roger Clemens in the third inning tonight. Doug's pinch-hit sacrifice bunt in the sixth keyed a 3-run rally and put the game out of reach. Now, Joe has named Chien-Ming Wang as the starter for tomorrow night's pivotal game 4.
I mentioned one exception, that is the use of Joba Chamberlain. Before he brought Joba in to start the seventh, I was calling for Hughes to stay out there. After the seventh I was hoping Farnsworth, or the Viz would start the eighth, but Joe stuck with the kid. He threw 38 pitches in his two innings of work, and there was a precipitous drop off in his stuff at the end of the eighth. I don't know if he'll be available at all tomorrow. A criticism, yes, but a minor one. Joe kept the ball in the hands of the guys he trusts, and the Yanks came away with a win. If he goes to the Viz for the eighth and the Indians mount a comeback that's it. The season's over, and Joe loses his job. I think managing like your job depends on it isn't a bad thing in this situation, to be honest with you.
Game 165 is in the books, and we will have a game 166. Paul Byrd is the only thing standing the between the Bombers and living to fight another day. The last time they faced Byrd they touched him up for 7 runs in 2 innings of work. Bringing Wang back on 3-days rest is a brilliant move for four reasons. 1) I didn't want Mike Mussina making this start, and Phil Hughes threw 63 pitches tonight, so he wouldn't have been able to go. 2)
Wang is a far superior pitcher at home. His home/away splits are obscene. 3) On short rest, his sinker may actually have more movement. 4) Andy Pettitte was going to pitch game 5 anyway, on full rest. If you don't use Wang in game 4, when are you going to use him?
This last point brings up an interesting question. If you were Eric Wedge, wouldn't you use the same logic? If I'm managing the Indians, Sabathia is starting game 4 and Carmona is starting game 5. I'm glad I'm not managing the Indians.
Peter Abraham has an interesting bit of news. Clemens re-injured his hammy, and he probably won't be making another start in the pinstripes. Thanks to a new rule, the Yanks can replace him on the roster tomorrow, the caveat being, he's then ineligible for the ALCS. I don't think it makes sense to make the move unless the guy you're adding to the roster is Ian Kennedy. AND, Ian Kennedy is able to pitch right away in relief. Britton, Edwar and Villone aren't going to help this team, and shouldn't see the mound no matter what the situation is.
I don't think Giambi did anything to earn another start tomorrow, but I expect to see him in there. Joe stuck with Matsui and his loyalty paid huge dividends tonight. He'll probably try for the same magic with the Giambino tomorrow.
First pitch tomorrow night is 7:37 p.m. I'll be live blogging. Any breaking news throughout the day tomorrow and I'll have a post up. Until then, we've got another game and that's exactly what we wanted. Get excited Yankee fans.