Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Not a good night for the Yanks

It's bad enough that the Yanks lost last night to the Orioles, against whom they are 4-7 this year (even a decent 6-5 mark against that stinko team would have the Yanks tied with the RedSawx), it's somewhat difficult to comprehend how the Yanks are 4-7 against the Orioles but started the post-All Star part of the season with eight wins against teams ahead of them in the wild card sweepstakes. It's also bad that the Twinkies won, vaulting back over the Yanks into second place in the wild card race. It's bad that Joe Girardi gambled on Darrell Rasner to extend his effectiveness even after the Yanks' #4 (by default) starter had reached 98 pitches in six innings -- Rasner started the seventh, the Orioles racked up four runs in the inning and extended a 2-1 lead. And it's really bad that Girardi left Richie Sexson (.338 avg, .994 OPS v. lefties) on the pine in the 9th as the Yanks watched Robbie Cano and Wilson Betemit (.222 avg, .633 OPS v. lefties) whiff with the tying run at second against Baltimore closer George Sherrill (a lefty). I know A-Rod had been set up as the DH and the Yanks had no other thirdbaseman, but using Sexson would have given the Yanks a better chance to tie the game and they could have relinquished the DH by having A-Rod play the field. Have to play to win now, not prevent losing later.

The worst thing that happened yesterday is that the Angels obtained Mark Texeira (20 HR, 78 RBI in 103 games with the Braves -- who play in a hitter unfriendly park and hitter unfriendly division). The switch-hitting Gold Glove first baseman (he won GGs in 2005 and 2006) gives the Angels the extra lineup pop they need to get past the Red Sawx this year. More importantly, he arrives in time for the Angels' games with the Yankees -- all 10 of them. That's right, the schedule gave the Yanks 10 games post-All Star against the Angels including two trips to Anaheim. And those two trips come during a 5.5-week stretch in which the Yanks play 26 of 35 games on the road. You read that right -- 26 roadies, 9 at home and the fun starts next Monday here in Texas.

If the Yanks split with the Angels this year, it will be the first time since 2003 that they did not lose the season series. In Torre's 12 years, the Yanks won the season series from the California/Anaheim/LA of Anaheim Angels three times, and split once! The Angels were the only team to win the season series from the Yanks in 1998, when the best post-WWII team in baseball won 114 games. In other words, during a dozen years over which the Yanks had the best record in the AL, they went 3-8-1 in season series against the Angels. That doesn't augur well for the Yanks against a team that already has the best record in baseball, the best road record in baseball and has hexed them without a 30+ HR corner infielder.

And that's why losing last night, and losing to stiff teams like the Orioles (4-7 Yanks record), Reds (1-2), Pirates (1-2), and Indians (2-4) ultimately harms the Yanks.

Not good.

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