Let's look around the Yankee Universe and see what is going on -- other than celebrating Mariano Rivera's milestone 500th career save.
- Quite possibly the best news of the entire evening Sunday was the good work done by Chien-Ming Wang, who earned his first victory since June 15 of last year. Mark Feinsand of the Daily News summarized Wang's value to the Yankees this way.
Wang actually wasn’t as good as he was in Atlanta on Tuesday, throwing a lot more pitches (85) than he did (62) in his last start. But he pitched into the sixth, gave up one less run than he did last time, and most important, he got the win.
I know wins are not ultimately the way to measure a pitcher’s success, but for a guy that had won 46 games in 2 ½ years, it has to mean something to get the "0" out of the first half of the win-loss column.
"I think the win is great for his confidence because everyone needs a win, no matter how good you’re pitching," Joe Girardi said. "Everyone needs fruit from their hard work."
To me, the best thing about Wang’s night was that his sinker wasn’t really very good. In fact, he was having enough trouble with it that he and Jorge Posada decided to stay away from it at times, throwing sliders and four-seam fastballs instead - and getting guys out with those pitches. Earlier in the year, they tried to force the issue with the sinker, figuring it would work itself out. Tonight? A better plan.
"When his sinker isn’t there, he has enough to go to that we can get people out," Posada said. "The sinker is his pitch, but today he didn’t have it. We can’t just throw sinkers all day if it isn’t there."
If Wang can win games when he doesn’t have that sinker, he’s going to have a great second half. If he has a great second half, the Yankees become the team to beat in the American League.
- In dissecting where the Yankees and Mets stand following the Subway Series slaughter by the Yanks, the Star-Ledger makes these three points about the Yankees. 1. The top of the rotation is scary. 2. The lineup is deep. 3. They'll win the games they're supposed to win. I don't have the exact numbers, but ESPN flashed a stat during last night's game showing that the Yankees have been the best team in baseball since Alex Rodriguez returned to the lineup. That despite the two-week slump. So, maybe we all need to relax a bit.
- Are you still a bit concerned about Brian Bruney? He got two outs last night, but for the second time in three outings seemed to have no idea where the ball was going. I am liking the idea of Phil Hughes getting the 8th inning more and more. Of course, there could also be a Bobby Jenks option.
- Some critics are wondering about Austin Jackson, but the guys playing with him at Scranton-Wilkes Barre think he can become a special player. Here is Eric Duncan.
"A.J. is as good of a prospect I've ever seen as far as hearing the hype and everything like that," Duncan said. "I'd never played with him, I'd just heard about him, and he's one of the best. Off the field, his work ethic and maturity you don't find in many 22 year olds. He's been more than impressive.
"People like to find flaws, people like to find things that are wrong so that if he does slip up, they can say, 'I told you so.' The fact of the matter is, A.J. is tearing up this league and he's going to keep doing it because he's that good and he works that hard. He's got the ability to do it and he's got the work ethic, and he's not going to slow down because of it. He's meeting and exceeding all of my expectations."