Let’s start out with the good news, and indeed it is good news.
Andy Pettitte went six innings, threw 91 pitches and said his left shoulder felt good. His health is of paramount concern as the Yankees prepare for the postseason.
Now for the bad news. The Yankees have lost six of 10 and are stumbling around a bit. I’m sure those inclined to panic are lining up at assorted bridges and tall buildings. But the Yankees will wrap up a playoff spot and the division soon enough.
But home field is a serious concern. The Angels trail the Yankees by 4.5 games for the best record in the American League and there are two more games left in this series. The Yankees are running Chad Gaudin and A.J. Burnett out there the next two days. If Anaheim sweeps, the Yankees have some issues.
The Yankees are 5-18 at Angels Stadium in the last five seasons and 0-4 this season, getting outscored 34-20. They simply don’t play well here and have not for years.
If the Yankees play the Angels in the ALCS, I think the team with home field wins. It’s that simple.
Meanwhile, Dave Robertson looks better and better with every day that passes, doesn’t he? With Robertson out, Joe Girardi went to Brian Bruney in the seventh inning and he gave up a home run to Kendry Morales that just seconds ago passed over Brazil.
Bruney said his mechanics were improved and that he “wasn’t aggressive enough” with the pitch to Morales. Meanwhile he has allowed 28 hits — six of them home runs — and 15 walks in his last 21.1 innings.
Jonathan Albaladejo came out for the eighth inning and he, too, gave up a run. Shocker.
Girardi manages his bullpen a lot like Joe Torre did. You have relievers who pitch with leads or when the score is tied and relievers who pitch when the team is losing.
The “winning” relievers are Rivera, Hughes, Aceves, Robertson and Coke.
The “losing” relievers are Bruney, Mitre, Towers and the assorted September call-ups like Albaladejo.
The difference is that Girardi allows more guys into the circle of trust than Torre ever did, which cuts down on visits to see Dr. Andrews. But every manager has basically two pools of relievers.
Here is Girardi talking about the game and his use of the bullpen:
Thanks to everybody for reading today. Back at it tomorrow.