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August 16, 2006

by SG

With yesterday's 6-3 victory over Baltimore and Boston's 3-2 loss to Detroit, the Yankees are back to three games up in the AL East. After scuffling over the first five innings against Erik Bedard, who was pitching very well. Derek Jeter led off with an infield single, Bobby Abreu and Jason Giambi (The Walking Twins) both drew full counts before walking, seeing 14 pitches between them. Alex Rodriguez followed with a flare single that only plated one run. Robinson Cano fanned, then Jorge Posada lined one as hard as someone can hit it, but right into Melvin Mora's leaping glove. It was hit so hard it knocked Mora out of the game. Craig Wilson then grounded out, and the Yankees had wasted an opportunity, although this inning knocked Bedard out of the game.

Mike Mussina pitched pretty well, although Rodriguez's defense hurt him in the sixth. Moose is still having a great year, but over his last 8 starts he's scuffling, with a 4.41 ERA. His FIP is 3.34, so he's not really pitched that badly. Unfortunately, his shot at 20 wins looks to be hanging on by a thread now. Moose was pulled after walking Ramon Hernandez for Ron Villone, who got a K then walked Brian Roberts, who's a real pain in the ass. Villone's been great this year, but walks have been a consistent issue with him. Scott Proctor got the last two outs in the seventh, and the Yankees went to work. Melky Cabrera singled, and Johnny Damon homered to tie the game.

I hated the Damon signing at the time, and in a few years I may hate it again, but right now it looks like genius. He's been key on offense and defense all season. I didn't know if I could ever really root for the guy, but consider me a fan now. If that makes me a hypocrite, so be it.

Abreu doubled after an out, and then Giambi was intentionally walked. Alex Rodriguez came up with a chance to further atone for his error but popped out on the first pitch. This brought up Robinson Cano, who's having a great season except when runners are in scoring position. Cano began the night hitting 225/.273/.350 with RISP, but he stroked one the opposite way for a double to drive in the go-ahead run, and the game was for all intents and purposed over.

With five games in four days against Boston looming, I'd like to see a rested bullpen over the next few days. I also think it may be a good idea to use Mike Myers if there's any intent of having him face the Crown Prince of WPA. I'd be satisfied with a split over the next two with Baltimore, and heading into Fenway with a 3 game lead in the loss column in the worst case.

Your injury updates from rotoworld.

Carl Pavano (elbow) threw four scoreless innings and struck out five in his rehab start Tuesday for Single-A Tampa. He allowed one hit and walked one. Pavano's next rehab start is scheduled for Sunday. He could rejoin the Yankees before the end of the month.

Darrell Rasner allowed one run in four innings Sunday in his second rehab appearance with the Rookie GCL Yankees. Rasner might be come off the DL and join the Yankee pen next month. He's been out since June 3 with a sore right shoulder.

Gary Sheffield took fielding practice and made throws at first base on Friday for the first time since his wrist injury. Sheffield has been told by Yankees' doctors that he could return around Sept. 15, but he hopes to return earlier. He reportedly feels great and, barring a setback, could be activated in early September.

Nothing on Dotel, although he's pitching in the minors and doing well. I'd assume he'll be brought up after the Boston series.

If Pavano and Rasner can contribute in September, it could be key. Not necessarily because they'd be particularly good, but because they could help rest people like Moose, Wang, and Proctor.