Saturday, September 02, 2006

Rain, Rain Go Away

The Yanks managed to get their game in with Minnesota for the most part on Saturday, but it wasn't pretty and there's no doubt that the outcome of the 8-1 victory in Game One and the 6-1 loss in Game Two were both affected by the wind and weather.

The Yankee loss was especially rough on both teams as balls in the outfield were adventures all around. Torii Hunter's misplayed ball in the first game looked routine compared to some of the bizarre balls hit in the air in the second affair. Bobby Abreu's catch in the first inning on a short fly ball was made from the knees thanks to the weather and turned into an unlikely sac fly. Likewise, A-Rod absolutely crushed a ball to dead center that should have landed in the black by all reasonable observations, but landed softly in Hunter's mitt well before the warning track. Hunter and A-Rod were shown laughing and shaking their heads. Jeter greeted Alex in the dugout with his signature smirk.

Jeff Karstens looked a bit tentative and worked slowly over the first 3 innings, but seemed to settle in and did a very respectable job. His fastball is suspect, but he has a nice variety of off-speed stuff that kept Twins batters out in front and consequently in the air. I don't know what to expect from him in his next outing, if there is one, but he certainly is better to watch than Jaret Wright. Certainly, the weather helped both pitchers as Baker 2 hit the Yanks in his time on the mound, which is about as unlikely an outcome as you can imagine. He of the 90 hits in 63 innings entering the game. His 7-ish ERA is no fluke. He's bad.

The only balls to leave the yard were screaming liners that stayed out of the swirling winds. Jeter's double over the head of the right fielder was also a line drive. There are a few things to watch as the series closes out tomorrow and the Yankees play the Royals.

1. Jason Giambi isn't right, and his wrist is in bad shape. Joe should sit him out the Royals series. Give Wilson/Guiel the at bats, and DH Bernie/Damon/Abreu.

2. Villone seems cooked. His stuff isn't awful, but he starts to flatten out after about 10-12 pitches. It's either a mechanical thing that's fixed easily, or it's a dead arm. We need to watch this closely.

3. Matsui will be playing somewhere this week. He could be back for the series against Boston, which would be beautiful. The Sox are really dead in the water and will probably lose ground to us playing the White Sox to our Royals. That being said, the only way to be sure of that fact is to beat them in at least 2 of the 4 games at the Stadium. At this point, very doable. Another sweep would add insult to injury.

No looking ahead. Twins/Royals/Orioles/Rays come first. Anything less than 8-3 is a failure. I have a feature over at Matsuzaka Watch called "Pedro vs. Daisuke" that you should take a look at too. See you tomorrow. Go Yanks.