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August 29, 2005

Home Cookin'
by SG

The Yankees finished off a very successful 7 game homestand with an easy victory over Kansas City. The 6-1 homestand concluded with a 10-3 win that had several good indicators for the final stretch run. More importantly, a homestand that started with the Yankees trailing Boston by 4.0 games ended with them trailing by 1.5.

Al Leiter pitched another solid game, allowing just 2 runs over 6 innings. It's rarely pretty when Leiter pitches, even when he pitches well, but the end result has been good. In 7 of his 9 starts as a Yankee, he's allowed 3 ER or fewer.

More importantly, Jason Giambi woke up from a month long funk with a monster game, Going 3 for 3 with 2 HRs and 7 RBI. Giambi had quietly been suffering with tendinitis in his left elbow, and got a cortisone shot 5 days ago which appears to have finally helped. It also appears that shuffling the lineup has put Giambi in a position to hit with runners on base, something he has disappointed with this year. Giambi continues to hit much better when he plays first base, so the acquisition of Matt Lawton will be a benefit if it keeps him on the field. The lineup that Joe Torre ran out there yesterday was close to optimal IMO.

D Jeter SS
H Matsui CF
G Sheffield RF
A Rodriguez 3B
J Giambi 1B
B Williams DH
M Lawton LF
J Posada C
R Cano 2B

You'd be hard-pressed to find a better 1-5 than Jeter, Matsui, Sheffield, Rodriguez, and Giambi. Throw in the fact Bernie, Lawton, and Posada all know how to work the count and get on base, and the only weak spot is the struggling Robinson Cano. Hopefully Cano can get on a little hot streak, but as long as he plays adequate defense he's not a problem.

Derek Jeter has been on fire recently. Since July 23, he is hitting .379/.449/.529. He is now leading the AL in runs scored with 100.

Here's a completely random stat that I found interesting:

Bernie Williams .259/.333/.405 .738
Carlos Beltran   .263/.325/.416 .741

Next up is West Coast swing that will not be easy.

Seattle's not a great team, but the Yankees will be seeing rookie phenom Felix Hernandez, which does not appear to be much fun.

4 games in Seattle
8/29: Moose versus Franklin
8/30: Chacon versus Harris
8/31: Johnson versus Hernandez
9/1: Wright versus Pineiro

The weekend series against Oakland will be huge. Oakland is still shooting for their division, and are one of the Yankees big competitors for the wild card.

3 games in Oakland
9/2: Leiter versus Haren
9/3: Moose versus Saarloos
9/4: Chacon versus Zito

Rich Harden has a strained lat muscle and is scheduled to pitch on Thursday, which is good for the Yankees.

I think if the Yankees can go 5-2, they will be in great shape.