Two out of two Bronx Banter bloggers agree, by winning the first two games, the Yankees have accomplished what they needed to do in their four-games in Detroit. That they did it in the first two games gives them an opportunity to come out ahead with another victory tonight or tomorrow, a win that would counter that unexpected loss to the Royals on Friday night. With rookie Justin Verlander set to start tomorrow, the Yanks would appear to have their best shot at a series win tonight behind Mike Mussina.
Moose’s May ERA has been nearly a run higher than his April mark, but remains an impressive 3.21 (he’s at 2.72 on the season). He’s also been pitching in a bit of hard luck of late, failing to earn a decision in his last three starts because of a lack of offensive support (he left the first game tied 2-2, the second trailing 2-0) and bullpen support (the pen lost that first game and blew a lead and lost the game in his last start against Kansas City). I wouldn’t be surprised to see Moose’s ND streak reach four games tonight with Gary Sheffield and Johnny Damon expected to sit out once again (with Sheffield staring down another DL stay), and the bulk of the bullpen having pitched last night (the exceptions being Darrell Rasner, who it turns out was just called up today and was not available last night–which explains why Torre didn’t go to him in extra innings in a tie game on the road–Ron Villone, who went two innings on Monday, and Mike Myers, who’s a non-factor against the Tigers who have just one lefty bat, lead-off man Curtis Granderson, on their roster).
Opposing the Moose will be bespectacled lefty Nate Robertson. Robertson’s preferred throwing hand is likely good news for Andy Phillips, T-Long haters, and Bernie Williams. But his performance thus far in May (a 2.32 ERA in five starts to go with a 3.02 season mark) is less encouraging, as is the fact that, if Damon is unable to play the field, Long will have to start against him anyway. If so, just remember that the Yankees have done what they came here to do. Another win in Detroit would be gravy.