Next Up, Boston

August 6, 2009 – 9:58 am

2-Game SweepNYY 8, Toronto 4. Sergio Mitre gave the Yankees exactly what you want out of your No. 5 starter — just keep you in the game for 4+ innings, long enough for your offense to kick in and turn things over to the bullpen. Although he gave up 8 hits and walked 2 in just 4.1 innings, he only allowed 2 runs and left with the score tied 2-2. Then in the 7th the Yankees finally wore down rookie Marc Rzepczynski, who was quite impressive up to that point, and then they teed off on Josh Roenicke to go ahead 6-3. From there on it was bullpen by committee, always a dicey way to manage a game, but this time it worked out as four Yankee relievers gave up only one run. Alfredo Aceves pitched two complete innings and looked a lot better than he has of late — but clearly that’s a pretty small sample size to start saying he’s back to where he was. And Phil Coke also looked better than he has in his last couple of appearances — but hard to say anything about a 2-batter appearance. Given that he seemed to have his good stuff, I would have liked to see him pitch the 8th and maybe save Phil Hughes for the Boston series. But alas, Girardi seemed to be in the “win today and worry about tomorrow tomorrow” mode — and that’s OK as well.

And the bottom line is that this indeed was a pretty big win. After playing three very ugly games in Chicago and looking to be on the precipice of another major collapse, they have now won three in a row. They finish up this road trip 5-4, and more importantly, they are 2.5 games ahead of Boston — exactly the position they were in at the beginning of the trip. You got to like that. And speaking of Boston…. how big is the series starting today? Yeah, yeah, the players are all pooh-poohing it as just 4 games out of 162. But the 0-8 record so far against the Red Sox has got to be more than a little upsetting to the players. You would surely hope so. That aside, though — the bigger picture is that the AL championship is the ultimate goal, and if that’s going to be achieved the Yankees are going to have to beat teams like Boston, Chicago, and Los Angeles in the post-season. And right now against those three teams the Yankee record is a dismal 3-15. So not only do the Yankees need to finish the season strong and win the East, they also need to start beating the teams they will ultimately face in the post-season.

Photo: Daily News

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