To steal a Tug McGraw line, ya gotta believe. This year's Yankee team has finally vanquished the Angels in two games out of three in Anaheim, and now the Bombers are ready to clinch the AL East against the Red Sox this weekend. (Unfortunately, Boston also has a good chance of clinching their Wild Card spot at the Stadium this weekend as well, but I digress.)
Speaking of the wild card, Peter Gammons thinks there should be another round, but I'm totally against it. Read my Faster Times piece here.
Anyhow, if Ian Kennedy could get out of a bases-loaded jam in a one-run game against the Angels, and the Yanks could win that game with such a depleted lineup then the Yanks should be able to win the division this weekend. Unfortunately, I have zero faith at this point in Joba Chamberlain. Maybe he'll surprise me tonight, but I doubt it.
And why is it that Jon Lester, his opponent tonight, has been able to pitch so many more innings at his age despite missing the equivalent of a season with cancer. How does that work, anyway? Lester pitched 81 innings in 2006, his first season in the majors, before getting sick. The next year, he pitched in 12 games (60 innings) after returning to baseball. In 2008, he threw 210 innings, and this year, he is currently at 194, and is set to match his totals from last year. Oh, and he threw 36 innings in the playoffs in 2007-2008 as well.
Meanwhile, back at the Yankee ranch, Joba Chamberlain has all those rules. Yes, Lester has a year of experience on him, but still. Should the Yankees think about moving Joba back into the bullpen? I dunno, but I wish we could have back the guy who challenged hitters, instead of the nibbler we've seen for most of the year. It would be nice to see him make a return tonight!
Coming later today - my predictions for this weekend. But in the meantime, tell us what you think?