HUGE COMEBACK: Okay, I'll be the first to admit that I didn't expect the Yanks to pull this one out after Darrell Rasner put his offense into a 5-0 hole - especially against a guy like John Lackey - and again when Edwar Ramirez (circa 2007) took the mound in the 8th inning and relinquished a 3-run lead with one swing of the bat by new Angel Mark Teixeira.
Anyone who has watched this team all season recognizes that there is quite a bit of truth to the "glass jaw" theory that Michael Kay often references during the broadcast because this team tends to lay down when the opposition manages to score a few runs early in the game.
But not today.
Perhaps this was one of those games you point to at the end of the season that really changed the tide for this club. I certainly hope so. But we've seen a few big wins this season only to have this team revert back to its unenergetic and lackluster ways soon after.
Either way, it's not going to be an easy 10 game road trip through Texas, Anaheim, and Minnesota.
MEET YOUR NEW #5 HITTER - XAVIER NADY: Not only has Jason Giambi's porn ‘stache vanished, but so has his productivity. Since July 3, Giambi is hitting just .182 / .325 / .280 in 66 at-bats and has been a huge liability in the #5 slot protecting the game's best player in Alex Rodriguez.
After going hitless in this first seven at-bats as a Yankee, Nady is now 10-for-26 (.385 / .467 / .846) with three homers, three doubles, 10 RBI, and 8 runs scored since coming over from the Pirates and is really in a groove. I realize this is a small sample, but Giambi's play the last month is a much larger sample and it's quite clear that he is really hurting this team right now. A lineup change is needed. Badly.
I know Girardi likes to alternate his righty and lefty bats to balance the lineup, but that strategy doesn't work too well when you have a black hole of productivity behind your best hitter and continues to fail in big spots.
Here's some comparative numbers w/ RISP:
Jason Giambi: .202 / .341 / .303 in 99 AB
Hideki Matsui: .338 / .449 / .462 in 65 AB
Xavier Nady: .316 / .382 / .442 in 95 AB
As you can see, losing Matsui has really hurt this ball club a lot more than people realize. The guy is certainly not flashy, but he's one of the most clutch hitters on the team and he was having a fantastic season driving in big runs hitting behind A-Rod.
But Nady is having an outstanding season as well. And you can see his numbers w/ RISP have also been excellent.
Make the change, Joe. Put Nady in the #5 slot and move Giambi out of there. Now.
NOTE TO YANKEE PITCHERS: Please stop issuing free passes to the #9 hitter with the .185 BA on the season. Makes it much tougher to keep the other team off the scoreboard, especially when the leadoff hitter has been a big thorn in the Yanks' side since his rookie season of 2002.
RASNER NEEDS TO GO: Well, Sidney Ponson does too - but let's axe one AAAA pitcher at a time and worry about the other one in a few days.
Darrell Rasner is now a horrific 2-7, 6.71 ERA, 1.87 WHIP over his last 11 starts since June 1. Needless to say, that ain't gonna cut it if the team wants to make the postseason.
KENNEDY DEALING: As others have already stated, it is time to give Ian Kennedy another shot with the big club. After another excellent performance today for Scranton, Kennedy has been lights out over his last 4 starts (27.0 IP, 14 H, 4 ER, 5 BB, 20 K -- 1.33 ERA, 0.70 WHIP).
Obviously, Kennedy is going to be the first one called up whenever the Yankee brass decides it's had enough of Darrell Rasner or Sidney Ponson - whomever comes first. The only question is whether his return will be this Friday against the Angels in Anaheim or the following week in MIN or at the Stadium against KC.
I could see this one go down either way. Kennedy really had some significant mental-confidence-attitude issues early in the season and got rattled fairly easily. They may decide to hold off one more start and put him in a better position to win his first game back not having to face the best team in baseball in their own backyard.
However, after watching Rasner's dismal performance on Sunday - there's simply no reason to believe that he'll be able to get these same Angels' hitters out on Friday. So Cashman may decide to finally put the dying dog down and give Kennedy the opportunity to re-establish himself in front of his hometown folks and alma mater.
We'll find out the answer within the next couple of days.
Feel free to add any of your own observations or tell me if you think I'm full of BS.