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August 31, 2006

Magic Number - 23
by SG

The Yankees took a 3-2 lead into the ninth inning of the nightcap of their doubleheader with Detroit. With Mariano Rivera being rested, and Kyle Farnsworth unavailable due to his balky back, the Yankees asked Scott Proctor to close the game out, in what would have been his first career save. Proctor got two outs sandwiched around a walk to Brandon Inge, who had walked 35 in his previous 490 plate appearances this season. Then came another walk, to Curtis Granderson. Craig Monroe stepped up, hit the first pitch he saw for a 3 run HR, and a 3-2 win became a 5-3 loss.

It was a frustrating loss, but it's tough to criticize Proctor when he's gotten so many big outs this season. With no Rivera or Farnsworth, you can't really fault Joe Torre either. If anything, the offense probably deserves a lot of the blame for the loss, as they could only muster 3 hits.

Still, it was a good day, as the Yankees reduced their magic number by two. They've been scuffling for most of August, which was to be expected given the schedule they faced. Since taking 2 of 3 from Baltimore in Baltimore, the Yanks have played 6 series, and have only won one of them.

At Chicago
Loss 5-6
Win 7-6
Loss 4-5

Home vs. LA of A
Loss 4-7
Win 5-2
Loss 3-5
Win 7-2

Home vs. Baltimore
Win 6-3
Loss 2-3
Loss 2-12

At Boston
Win 12-4
Win 14-11
Win 13-5
Win 8-5
Win 2-1

At Seattle
Loss 5-6
Win 9-2
Loss 2-4

At LA of A
Loss 5-6
Loss 7-12
Win 11-8

Thankfully, they picked the right one to win. With the double-header split yesterday, the Yankees are 12-11 in the first 23 games of the 24 game stretch where the log5 method predicted 13-11, so if they win today they have basically met reasonable expectations, even if they picked an odd way to do it.

Given what I've seen out of Detroit's offense, I'm hopeful Randy Johnson can pitch a good game today. Detroit as a team has hit .271/.328/.434 vs. lefties this year, as opposed to .278/.329/.452 vs. righties, which isn't a huge difference but should help. Let's hope the Yankees remember how to hit against Jeremy Bonderman, who's got a 4.89 ERA since the All Star Break.

Update:NY Times: Rivera and Giambi Taking Medical Tests
Mariano Rivera and Jason Giambi played in yesterday’s doubleheader, so their health status is not alarming to the Yankees. But the team was concerned enough about them to schedule magnetic resonance imaging exams.

Rivera has experienced inflammation in his right elbow and will have a precautionary M.R.I. on the elbow soon, perhaps today. He earned the save in the first game yesterday but did not pitch in the second.


Giambi had an M.R.I. on his left wrist between games of the doubleheader, after he went 1 for 3 with a sacrifice fly as the designated hitter in the opener. He missed a start Sunday in Anaheim because of cramping in his hands, and he has had his wrist wrapped lately.

The results of Giambi’s M.R.I. were not immediately available, and he started the second game as the D.H.

Not so good.