Yanks Against the Wall
Down 2-1 in Detroit, the Yankees are in a must win situation. They need to tie the series up if they want to fly home and play Game 5 in the Bronx. The Yankees collective fate rests on the right shoulder of Jaret Wright. The Boss is paying Wright $7.6 million this year and he'll earn every cent if he pitches seven solid innings this afternoon.
All the baseball pundits laud Wright for pitching Game 7 of the World Series many moons ago. But in all reality, he was a 11-7 pitcher this season with a 4+ ERA. However, that looks like a decent season for the banged up Wright who's two best seasons were 15-8 and 12-10. Wright struggled at times during the 2006 season and there were moments when he showed flashes of consistency. Alas, if the Yankees want to advance they need a solid start from Wright and of course their bats need to wake up.
Over the last two games, the Yankees hitters have not driven in runners when they were in scoring position. The middle of the lineup looks like a black hole led by A Rod's 1 for 11 performance with four strikeouts. He's 0 for his last 7. One Tigers fan held up a sign that read "K-Rod" with a backwards K. Fitting, I thought. At the same time Robsinson Cano has been the invisible man batting a paltry 1 for 11. Jason Giambi is 1 for 8 in the series with his only hit being a HR in Game 1.
Jorge Posada is hitting .500 in the postseason and I hoped he would be on a hot streak. He's being overlooked since the rest of the lineup is slumping minus Derek Jeter (7 for 12). Hideki Matsui (4 for 12) and Bobby Abreu (3 for 8) are getting on base and Johnny Damon is 4 for 14, but he doesn't have any walks or SBs.
Torre's gamble to sit Gary Sheffiled and start Bernie Williams in Game 3 backfired. On paper, Bernie had a .355 average against Kenny Rogers. Heck, the entire Yankees staff had amazing numbers against Rogers. What the hell happened to him last night? He pitched like a chump when he wore Yankees pinstripes and last night he looked like a Hall of Famer. I know that the Yankees have a tough time against lefties (especially on the road) but last night was difficult to watch as Rogers shut down one of the best lineups in the history of baseball. This is the same picther who walked the Yankees with the bases loaded in the World Series a few years ago with the Mets. Unreal.
Now it's Bonderman and Wright going this afternoon, and unless the Yankees outslug the Tigers... their season is done.