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July 24, 2005

Road Trip Blues
by SG

Coming out of the All Star Break was a road trip that had the potential to make or break the Yankees' season. 11 games against teams that had a combined record of 148-116. The Yankees entered the road trip with a record of 4746-40(thanks to typo police), 1.5 games out of first place in the AL East and 1 game out of the wild card.

With today's 4-1 victory over Anaheim of Los Angeles, they exit with a record of 52-45, 1.5 games out of first place in the AL East and .5 games out of the wild card.

Entering the road trip, a 6-5 record would have been seen as a positive. However, with some better managing and breaks it could have been an 8-3 trip. The trip was not a bad one, despite losing 3 of 4 in Anaheim. I think most of us would have traded winning 3 of 4 with Boston for losing 3 of 4 to the Angels. Unfortunately, the Yankees did not make up any ground, but at least they didn't lose any. Anaheim is a tough team, with a bullpen that Joe Torre probably dreams of.

There were a lot of good signs in the road trip.

Mike Mussina pitched two very solid games after a rough start in Fenway. Moose is going to have to come up big for this team down the stretch, and right now it looks like he will be able to do it.

Jason Giambi carried his hot bat onto the road. On the season, he has a pretty significant home road split, with a 1.049 OPS at home vs. an .895 OPS on the road, and that includes a road trip where he hit .333/.500/.970 for an OPS of 1.470. His season OPS is now .971. David Ortiz's is only .949. Feel free to share this fact with any Red Sox fans you may encounter.

I thought Felix Rodriguez threw the ball pretty well. He probably should have started the 7th inning instead of Scott Proctor and then Buddy Groom in the Friday night loss at Anaheim, but maybe Torre learned something there. Rodriguez can be a big part of resting the trio of Sturtze, Rivera, and Gordon. Particularly Gordon, who just seems to be pitching on fumes lately.

Bubba Crosby is not much of a hitter and likely never will be, but he seemed to play decent defense and I think he has more potential than Tony Womack to contribute something, as his minor league numbers show some ability to walk every once in a while.

The schedule doesn't get any easier over the next 20 games, as the Yankees will be playing mostly contenders. Fortunately they are slowly but surely getting some health back in the pitching staff, with the return of Felix Rodriguez, who has pitched two scoreless innings, and the pending return of Carl Pavano and possibly Jaret Wright. Unfortunately, Kevin Brown did not remain injured, but that's another story.