The New York Yankees took the first step to overcoming a tumultuous week by defeating the Tampa Bay Rays last night, 6-2. Now the New York Grandersons take a two-day jaunt to their home-away-from-home--Oriole Park at Camden Yards.
The remedy to any Yankees slump seems to be a series against the Baltimore Orioles. It's take two and call me on Friday.
When the Yankees visit the Yard, you can usually spot more pinstripes than orange and black birds in the stands. If anything can help the Yankees get on a roll and win back-to-back games after a six-loss skid, it's the sight of the fragrant BBQ smoke wafting in front of the Baltimore & Ohio Warehouse in right field.
The Yankees are in a lot of trouble. Issues with Core Four members Derek Jeter and Jorge Posada in the clubhouse and front office, an aging starting rotation, a fragile bullpen and soft hitting. Not to mention Hal Steinbrenner lurking in his luxury box last night. Manager Joe Girardi is getting to know how Billy Martin felt during his five terms as manager under George's constant glare.
Besides Curtis Granderson (.270, 14 HR's, 31 RBI's) having an All-Star caliber start, most of the other Yankees make Abe Vigoda like spry.
A.J Burnett has reverted back to his bi-polar swings on the mound and the $30 million set-up man, Rafael Soriano, was just put on the 15-day DL.
There were a lot of high-fives going around after Alex Rodriguez busted out of his weeks-long slump by going yard twice last night. Maybe his hip is okay. There were even banner headlines in the tabloids after the DH Posada raised his average to a whopping .179 after getting two hits in the #7 spot. I guess he showed Girardi who is boss.
One other bright spot is Brett Gardner who went 3-for-4 last night and is batting .397 over his last 22 games.
The Yankees are 4-0 against the O's this season and will roll out Bartolo Colon (2-2,3.74) to battle the Oriole's Zach Britton (5-2, 2.42). It won't be easy for Colon, who has a lifetime 10-7, 3.50 record against Baltimore, because Britton is having the kind of season any of the Yankees starters could only wish for.
Let's see if Girardi has forgiven Posada for pulling out on Saturday night. If he lets Posada (0-for-24 against lefties) start against the southpaw Britton, I'd say the manager is showing a lot of love. Don't count on it.
The Yankees pulled out all the stops to beat the Rays last night. They had Mariano Rivera come out in the ninth to protect a four-run lead. That's how much Girardi thought his team needed a victory.
"We needed to win that game," said Girardi. "I wouldn't say it was a must-win, but it was as close to a must-win is in May."