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July 14, 2005

Who's not clutch?
by SG

Soldiering on after the disheartening news of Chien-Ming Wang going on the disabled list with shoulder inflammation, the Yankees had one of their most satisfying wins of the season tonight.

Alex Rodriguez, who has unfairly been labelled as "un-clutch" and as a guy who "puts up his numbers in blowouts" went a long way to quelling those ridiculous notions today. His soaring two run HR in the top of the ninth inning off postsseason hero Curt Schilling gave the Yankees their first lead of the game. As it turned out, it was the only lead they would need.

And apparently Boston forgot that they owned Mariano Rivera, as he breezed through Johnny Damon, Edgar Renteria, and David Ortiz in the bottom of the ninth, striking out all three.

Mike Mussina's final line was ugly, but he was really brilliant after a 4 run first inning. At some point, Jason Giambi's resurgence is going to have to be acknowledged as more than a sample size fluke. He got a lucky HR when a fan caught a ball that Trot Nixon would likely have made a play on, but it still counts.

Obviously, one game does not a season make, and the fact that the Yankees will be starting Tim Redding and at least one other bad pitcher in 2 of the 3 remaining games of this series is not particularly good news. However, after the news about Wang earlier in the day, and starting the game in a 4-0 hole, it would not have been surprising to see the Yankees fold like they have in this stadium many times in the past. If the Randy Johnson that the Yankees paid for shows up, then all they would need to do is split one of the remaining two games in this series for this to be a successful start to the second half.

There are rumors about a Shawn Chacon trade swirling, but nothing confirmed as of yet. His numbers aren't particularly impressive, but he may flourish outide of Coors. In other news, the Yankees have hired Joe Kerrigan as a an organizational pitching guru. If, like many, you believe that Mel Stottlemyre has been a detriment to his pitching staff, then Kerrigan can only help.

Despite some pretty bad play all year, the Yankees control their destiny at this point. They are 1.5 games back of first in the AL East, and got the first game of a rough stretch out of the way in impressive fashion.