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September 15, 2006

The Meaningless Series with the Red Sox
by SG

With last night's 7-4 win over Tampa Bay, the Yankees have won six straight games for the first time all season. In doing so, they also lowered their magic number for the AL East to six, which means that if they can take three of four against the Red Sox over the weekend, they can clinch the division against Boston at home, which would be pretty sweet.

Jeff Karstens was decent, aside from when he was facing Rocco Baldelli. I still don't think Karstens has the makings of much more than a swingman or possible fifth starter, his stuff just seems short, but I love the fact that he is a strike-throwing machine and works quickly. Darrell Rasner relieved him to start the sixth, and was outstanding, throwing four innings and allowing only one hit, with five strikeouts. With Cory Lidle struggling, a case could be made for Rasner over Lidle on the postseason roster if Jaret Wright pitches decently over the rest of the season and claims the fourth starter spot in the playoffs.

The Yankees are in great shape heading into this series with the Red Sox. Even if they were to somehow get swept, they'd still have an 8 game lead in the loss column with 13 games to play. By moving Chien-Ming Wang's start to tonight, they get to throw their three top starters at Boston.

Your matchups for the weekend:

Saturday: Game 1 - 1:20 PM ET
J. Beckett (14-10, 5.09) vs. C. Wang (17-5, 3.60)

Saturday: Game 2 - 8:05 PM ET
J. Tavárez (3-4, 4.74) vs. J. Wright (10-7, 4.60)

Sunday: Game 1 - 1:05 PM ET
K. Snyder (4-4, 6.54) vs. R. Johnson (17-10, 4.84)

Sunday: Game 2 - 8:05 PM ET
K. Gabbard (1-3, 3.13) vs. M. Mussina (14-6, 3.59)

Jorge Posada's bruised up, the result of a HBP off his elbow. He's listed as day-to-day. In better news, Mariano Rivera appears to be progressing and will probably throw a bullpen session this weekend. If that goes well he could see game action next week. I haven't seen or read anything on Gary Sheffield, so I'd imagine he won't be back over the weekend either.

Alex Belth brought this up on Bronx Banter yesterday, but tonight will be Jim Kaat's last game as an announcer, as he's announced his retirement. I think Kaat is a great broadcaster. He's fair, impartial, not afraid to criticize, and knows as much about the physical aspects of pitching as anyone. Yeah, he's a bit old-school at times, and some of his rants about pitch counts and Moneyball may be annoying at times, but I've always thought that paled in comparison to the good stuff he brought to the announcer's booth every night. The man played for 25 years and had an amazing power of recall, able to remember intricate details of games from 40 years ago. I wish him the best in his retirement, and will miss him.