Thursday, August 23, 2007

Yankees Salvage Final Game in L.A.

Aug. 23, 2007
By Anthony Tripicchio

Angels are supposed to be from heaven, but the Yankees swear they are from hell.

After losing the first two games of the series, New York avoided the sweep last night and beat the L.A. Angels in Anaheim 8-2.

If you have a cold you take a dose of penicillin, but if you’re on a losing streak the doctor prescribes Andy Pettitte.
Pettitte made his latest house call against Angels’ ace John Lackey and pitched seven crisp innings of one-run ball. Improving to 11-7 with a 3.67 ERA, Pettitte is easily the most reliable starter on the Yankees’ staff. He’s 7-1 in his last nine starts and it seems he is always on the mound when the Yanks are desperate for a win.

Lackey pitched well himself as he matched Pettitte through six innings until the Yankees ultimately broke through against him in the 7th and 8th innings.
Melky Cabrera and Derek Jeter each had RBI singles in the 7th to recapture the lead 3-1. The Yankees 8th inning eruption put the game out of reach. Jorge Posada continued his magical season with a 3-4 night, two doubles and 2 RBI. Robinson Cano and Hideki Matsui also had three-hit nights.

The win moves Joe Torre to second on the Yankees’ franchise list for managerial victories with 1150. Torre surpassed Casey Stengel and now trails Joe McCarthy by 310 wins for a share of the top spot.

Since the Yankees are no strangers to dynasties, it’s surprising that Torre stands in such scarcely populated territory. In modern day baseball, it’s exceedingly difficult for a manager to have any type of longevity with one particular team. Torre’s tenure is marked by stability and class. He should be commended for a tremendous 12-year run in the most demanding market in the game.

Although he may not want to manage too many more years, Torre has to be tempted by the young pitching crop he’s witnessing. Joba Chamberlain, most notably, is a flamethrower with stunning mound presence. Chamberlain added to his mind-boggling numbers last night as he struck out the side (including Vlad Guerrero and Orlando Cabrera) in the 8th inning while allowing just one hit. His fastball lights up the radar gun as he routinely hits 96-98 MPH, but his slider is even more devastating. No one has come close to touching Chamberlain’s slider yet and the Yankees are giddy about the possibilities for his future.

Next year the Yankees’ rotation will potentially include Chamberlain, Phil Hughes, and Ian Kennedy who all appear to play prominent roles in the franchise’s future. If Chamberlain continues to be lights out in the bullpen, he could be considered as the eventual replacement for closer Mariano Rivera. The Yankees, however, see Chamberlain as a starter as he was for the majority of the year in the minors.

Despite the future’s promise, the present is the concern. The Yanks are now five games behind first place Boston and are 1 ½ games out of the wildcard. With over a month remaining in the regular season, there is time to erase both deficits. A win a day will keep the coroner away.

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