Joe Torre used to always talk about the importance of Game 2, and it's hard to argue with his logic. It's either the game you take back momentum and even things up, or like AJ tonight, it's the game you want to step on the other guy's throat.
Yankee pitchers have allowed 7 runs in 4 games, a stretch of dominance we haven't seen in pinstripes since the first 4 games of the 2000 ALCS.
There's pressure on the starter when the whole staff is pitching well to keep it going. AJ was an escape artist last Friday, finding big Ks and big plays when he needed them. (Speaking of which, I still haven't found a good photo of Jeter's game saver against the Twins).
But AJ is going to backed up by the best Yankee defense since... maybe 1998? We had 7 years of Jason Giambi. Knoblauch had the yips by 1999. I'm not just talking about highlight reel plays like Tex's last night. I mean, these Yankees cover a lot of ground in the infield and outfield, boast a strong group of arms (except Damon), and are pretty quick on the double play.
They'll be opposed by the red hot Joe Saunders, who came of the DL and won 7 starts in a row before charging into the postseason. He's a sinkerballer, so hopefully the raw weather gives him some trouble.
The weather is again the enemy, so hopefully AJ can stay warm and dry despite the 50% chance of rain.
10/17/09 7:57 PM EDT
|Los Angeles Angels||New York Yankees|
|Chone Figgins - 3B||Derek Jeter - SS|
|Bobby Abreu - RF||Johnny Damon - LF|
|Torii Hunter - CF||Mark Teixeira - 1B|
|Vladimir Guerrero - DH||Alex Rodriguez - 3B|
|Kendry Morales - 1B||Hideki Matsui - DH|
|Juan Rivera - LF||Nick Swisher - RF|
|Maicer Izturis - 2B||Robinson Cano - 2B|
|Mike Napoli - C||Melky Cabrera - CF|
|Erick Aybar - SS||Jose Molina - C|