Wright was 2 outs shy of sticking together back-to-back 6 inning efforts, but was yanked after allowing a 1-out single in the 6th. His pitch count was only at 83, which is uncharacteristically low for Wright, so I think he could’ve lasted another 4 or 5 outs. But Torre wasted no time in calling for Proctor and what followed was a bizarre inning. A 4 pitch walk to Guerrero. Then Orlando Cabrera stole second and third base without attracting a throw. Then Vlad stole second base, but was picked off a batter later by Posada to end the threat. Proctor followed that inning with a scoreless 7th and the flame thrower Farnsworth came in to pitch a perfect eighth. All in all, Yankees pitchers were hit only 4 times and allowed only 2 runs. What could’ve caused trouble were Jaret’s 4 walks, but I think he excells at thwarting the rallies he creates. And even though the Angels weren’t exactly piling on the runs, it would’ve been reassuring to see a couple clutch hits with runners on base. In the third inning with runners at 2nd and 1st and 1 out, Posada ended it with a double play. In the fifth inning with runners at the corners and 1 out, A-Rod grounded into a double play. In the seventh inning with Melky at 3rd and 2 outs, Jeter ended the inning with a swinging K. In the eighth inning with runners at 2nd and 1st with 1 out, Posada popped up and Cano went down on strikes. I guess it doesn’t matter though, because Mariano comes in and records an easy 1-2-3 ninth for his 30th save in 33 opportunities. I don’t expect every potential run to score, but to pick up ready-made runs on a sacrifice fly and not depend on the opposing pitcher to make a few mistakes in one inning would only benefit the Yankees and their bullpen a lot. We’re an offensively minded team and to see only 5 runs on the board today and only 4 runs last night when more were to be had is slightly disappointing. But a win’s a win I guess, and the Yankees’ division lead remains at 2 games.
I was originally thinking that the Yankees needed to win the next 2 games against the Angels to offset the series loss to Chicago. That would be helpful, but I stopped to look at the schedule and reminded myself how many games are left to play. That would be….a lot. We’re in no rush yet. A series split though is necessary. What would help is either Jeter getting out of his 5-for-29 (.172) slump or Damon and A-Rod hitting a little more often. Those two are born .333 hitters and both are currently below .290. The arrival of Cano has helped significantly. Maybe I’m being unreasonable, but the way I look at it is when you have superstar talent like Damon, Jeter, A-Rod, Cano, etc., you want to see it working to perfection simultaneously. And right now it isn’t. But like I ended the last paragraph, maybe it doesn’t matter because we won today and a win’s a win. A-Rod did go 2-for-3 today with 2 doubles and a run scored. I haven’t overlooked that. Neither have I overlooked Robbie’s sweet swing on that 3-run homer. He really does have a nice swing. I still like Bernie’s the best though. I feel weird calling a guy’s swing "pretty", but I have no other word for Bernie’s. Bernie has one of the prettiest swings in the majors.
Right now, if anything should prevent the Yankees from winning consistently, it’s the shallow bullpen. We’ve got four lights out arms in Villone, Proctor, Farnsworth and Rivera, but in September and the postseason, we can’t count on them to weather the storm alone. Can we? All it takes is one sub-4 inning start from Lidle or Wright or Johnson, and we’ll over tax 3 relievers for 6 or 7 innings. Who’s to relieve the next game? Veras? Nope. Ponson? Sure, but we better have a double digit lead. Myers? Can he pitch to anyone but a lefty? I suppose the postseason provides the luxury of using a starting pitcher in relief, but we can’t plan ahead. What’s more important than the arrival of Matsui or Sheffield is the return of Dotel. Because the offense and starting rotation are covered. One more reliever would be a priceless safety net.