After an unexpectedly successful doubleheader, the Yankees are looking to keep up their winning ways today. A victory today would give the Yankees their 5th straight series win. And 4 of those 5 would be 4-game sets. They would have won 14 of their last 19 games. But perhaps more importantly, a win today over Tampa Bay puts the Yankees at 5 games over .500 for the first time. Goal number 1 coming back from the break was to make it to .500. They did that. Goal number 2 was 5 games over, today will be their second shot at achieving that one.
As the All-Star Break ended I said the Yankees needed to win 15 of their 21 reamining decisions in July. So far they are 8-3, meaning they would have to go 7-3 in the last 10 (this is including the completion of the suspended game). I also asked the Red Sox to go 10-9 (not much of a request, considering they’ve been playing .478 ball since May 30). This would put the Yankees down by 6 games going into August, a manageable deficit. So far, both teams have lived up to their ends, the Red Sox going 5-5 so far.
Andy Pettitte is the one the Yankees are asking to keep this thing going. He had a couple of rough starts, but seemed to get it back under control last time against Toronto. He earned a no-decision, but struck out 7 and gave up just 1 run in 7 innings. The way the offense performed yesterday, I have a feeling this will be a low-scoring affair, so Andy’ll have to be on his game again. I certainly hope he is.
But let’s not forget to mention the big news: The Yankees have made a trade for a decent backup catcher, Jose Molina. Molina isn’t exactly Ivan Rodriguez, but he’s no Wil Nieves either. He’s hitting .224 with no homeruns and 10 RBIs. Not super numbers (although he has only played in 40 games), but Nieves was only batting .164. I’m happy that an experienced catcher that can throw out a runner is coming. I think this was an important move. I no longer feel like whenever Posada needs a day off there will be a useless slot in the rotation. And who knows…maybe coming to New York will liven Molina’s bat, although that may be tough since he won’t be playing every day. I must admit, however, that I’m sad to see Nieves go. While his bat was next to useless and his defense was only passable, he seemed like such a nice guy that worked hard and was truly happy just to be there. Wil, your smiles will be missed, but your game will not.
Alright, guys….5 straight series, 3 straight games, 5 games over. Let’s do it. Go Yankees!