What a difference three days makes, eh?
It was just a few days ago in this very space that I talked about the highs and lows of the baseball season and how people’s perception of a team can change on a day to day basis.
Case in point: After losing three of four in Toronto, there was a lot of panic among Yankees fans. They had their hats handed to them by the Blue Jays, who has crept within two games of New York, while the Red Sox had a 2 1/2-game lead in the AL East and the White Sox were 2 1/2 games up in the Wild Card standings.
Now here we are, three days later, and the Yankees sit on top of the Wild Card standings and have trimmed a game off Boston’s lead, which is now just 1 1/2 games in the East. As for mighty Toronto? They’re four games behind the Yanks. Things are looking up for the Bombers.
Things are also looking up for A-Rod, who went 4-for-12 with two walks, a hit-by-pitch, two RBIs and five runs scored in the three-game series against his former team. He also went three straight games without an error, making every play that came his way. Perhaps this will put an end to this whole A-Rod nonsense, but I doubt it. It will, however, be interesting to see how he is received at home on Friday night.
A few notes from Wednesday’s game:
* Nobody needs Thursday’s off day quite like Scott Proctor. He took one for the team when he took the ball on Wednesday, as Kyle Farnsworth’s back wouldn’t allow him to pitch. Farnsworth expects to be ready on Friday.
* Jason Giambi may be in a bit of a slump at the plate, going 5-for-26 (.192) on the road trip, but two of those five hits led directly to Yankees wins. His pinch-hit RBI double tied the game in New York’s only win in Toronto, while his two-run blast on Wednesday was the game-winner against Texas. Not a bad way to chip in during a slump.
* T.J. Beam didn’t do very well on Wednesday, but I think this kid has some potential. I know that a lot of fans want to see Matt Smith and his 0.00 ERA up here instead, but the Yankees don’t have a need for a third left-hander in the bullpen. Torre seems to have a lot of confidence in Beam, who was lighting it up in the minors before being called up again.
* Shawn Chacon’s huge eighth inning was a nice moment for him on Wednesday, but I fully expect the Yankees to give Sidney Ponson another shot as the fifth starter on Aug. 5. Chacon could see more time pitching in the bullpen, but until he puts a few good outings together in a row, I don’t think he’ll be back in the rotation.
* The Yankees catch a break this weekend, as Scott Kazmir won’t be starting for the Devil Rays after being scratched with a sore shoulder. Tampa Bay will start Tim Corcoran, Jae Seo and James Shields, while the Yankees counter with Chien-Ming Wang, Randy Johnson and Mike Mussina.
I’ll be back Saturday. Who knows how y’all will feel about the Yanks by then.