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September 10, 2004

Insert Stupid Sweep Pun Here
by Larry Mahnken

I was awfully worried about having to play a doubleheader against the Devil Rays, not because the Devil Rays give anyone any particular cause to worry, but because doubleheaders are tough to sweep. You only get to use your first-string catcher for one of the games (an issue when it's difference between Jorge Posada and John Flaherty), and if the first game is close then you might have to use up your bullpen before even getting into the second game. Tough to win, easy to lose, they say. That's not logically correct, but it still makes sense in a Yogi Berra type of way.

I guess we didn't have to worry, huh? The Yankees won the first game easily thanks to a steady offensive attack and another brilliant start by Mike Mussina (he's baaaaaaaaaack...), and then they went out and won the second game easily thanks to another steady offensive attack and... well, a cruddy start by Brad Halsey, but great relief pitching by Tanyon Sturtze. With the Red Sox getting shut down by a 28-year old rookie (there, someone finally brought their A-game against the Sox -- keep it up), the Yankees were able to make up the lost half-game from Wednesday's rainout, and tack on an insurance game -- the first game they've added in the standings in 17 days.

After all that happened this week, the Yankees and Devil Rays ended up losing only one game, one that MLB wants them to make up in a two-team split doubleheader during one of Tampa Bay's off-days. If the Yankees can take care of the Rays as easily as they did this week, it won't be a problem, but let's hope that it's Monday and not the 23rd. Monday, the Yankees take on the Royals in the evening, and have two more games against them afterwards. KC beat up on Detroit big-time today, so they might not be a total pushover, but it's better than the alternative.

On the 23rd, the Yankees will be playing the Blue Jays in the evening, before heading to Fenway Park the next day. Two games the day before the Boston series could wreck the Yankees' bullpen, and have a negative impact, it's less likely to hurt them next week. We'll see how that turns out.

My friend Chrissy, the official hot babe of the Replacement Level Yankees Weblog, and future Mrs. Jeter, went to California with her brother last week, while the Yankees were playing the Twins and Angels. As she was leaving, the Yankees were comfortably in first place, by about 10 games. As she was getting on the plane to come home, her mother told here the Yankees were trailing the Indians 7-0; they would eventually lose 22-0.

When I talked to her the other day, she wondered why the AL East went all to hell while she was gone. During that time, Jeter batted only .226 with a .705 OPS, and the Yankees dropped 7 games in the standings.

And since then, the Yankees have gone 7-2, kept pace with Boston, and Jeter's batting .476 with a 1.219 OPS. We're not letting Chrissy leave the state anymore.

Maybe we should lock the state.