Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Yankees moving in the right direction again

A lot of things went right for the Yankees in last night's Game 4 victory against the Angels. CC Sabathia's tremendous performance on 3 days rest snatched momentum right back after a devastating Game 3 loss. CC gave the Yankees exactly what they needed: a dominating performance that put the Angels on the edge of the cliff. And after Joe Girardi's bullpen managing fiasco, CC served as his own set-up man, requiring Girardi to make only one move: bringing in Chad Gaudin for one inning of much-needed work. And he looked sharp, which is good news for Yankee fans. With the World Series not scheduled to have as many off-days, it's important to get Gaudin ready for a possible start.

The Yankees also finally remembered how to hit with runners in scoring position. Melky Cabrera, king of the regular-season walkoffs, got a clutch hit to drive in a couple of runs and give CC a good cushion before the Yanks starting piling it on. Johnny Damon's consecutive home run days is another positive sign, but Nick Swisher's ongoing struggles are still an issue and may require a seat on the bench.

Of course, this being the Yanks, there were causes for concern. Jorge Posada and Robby Cano should have both been called out on that play at third. Posada is famous for bone-headed moves on the bases, but both of them being off the bag is inexcusable. The Angels made a heads-up play tagging them and should have had a double play, but the ump blew the call. The Yankees were the receipients of two bad calls although another call went against them with Swisher being called out after tagging from third.

CC kept Girardi on the bench, but with AJ Burnett on the mound in Game 5 and unlikely to give more than 6 innings, you really have to worry about how the manager will handle the bullpen, especially since Girardi still seems to believe he made the right calls on Monday. He may be the only person in New York who thinks he got all of them right. That makes him prone to continue his bullpen manipulations and that is something to worry about.

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