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Series Wrap: @ Devil Rays

With the Yankees needing to win every series for the next month (and, really, beyond), I though I’d start a new feature here that takes a look at the individual performances of each just-completed series. It goes a little something like this:

Offense The Yankees scored an average of six runs per game against the Devil Rays, which sounds impressive when you consider the fact that the Tigers lead the majors by scoring 5.94 runs per game on the season. However, the Rays allowed an average of 6.17 runs per game over the first half of the season, which means the Yankees’ performance was actually close to average. I say close, because the Rays tend to give up a lot more runs on the road, so the Yankees were actually above average for a visitor at Tropicana Field, but it still wasn’t as impressive a showing as it might appear at first glance.

Offensive Studs:

Bobby Abreu: 6 for 16, 2 2B, 2 HR, 8 RBI
Hideki Matsui: 6 for 18, 2 2B, 2 HR
Jorge Posada: 4 for 9, 2 2B, HR, 4 BB, SB
Derek Jeter: 5 for 18, 2B, 2 HR, SB

Offensive Duds:

Robinson Cano: 2 for 12, IBB, RBI
Melky Cabrera: 3 for 12, 3 K, CS
Kevin Thompson: 1 for 8, 2B, 3 K
Johnny Damon: 3 for 14, 5 BB, SB, CS

Rotation Two of the four starters turned in bare-minimum quality starts, Chien-Ming Wang doing so while striking out six and walking none, and Mike Mussina doing so by gutting out six innings with bad stuff. Andy Pettitte missed a quality start by one out, leaving with two on and two out in the sixth. Roger Clemens had the only truly poor outing of the series, though it wasn’t a total disaster (5 1/3 IP, 5 R). Overall a poor showing by the rotation against a team batting Brendan Harris third.

Bullpen Allowed five runs in 12 innings, but only blew a lead once, that coming in the finale when Ron Villone entered a 4-3 game and gave up a two-run home run.

The Good:

Mariano Rivera collected two saves and closed a third game with a four-run lead. Altogether, he allowed a pair of singles and struck out four in three innings. Luis Vizcaino was perfect for 2 2/3 innings, striking out three and closing the door for Pettitte in the opener. Brian Bruney finished the sixth for Clemens on Friday, retiring his two batters on nine pitches, six of them strikes.

The Bad:

Kyle Farnsworth pitched three times, allowing two runs on a home run and a pair of doubles. In his three innings, he allowed six base runners and struck out one. Mike Myers and Scott Proctor teamed up to allow a run in their only work of the weekend on Friday. Myers faced two batters, striking out Akinori Iwamura, then allowing a double to Carl Crawford. Crawford is a career .333/.368/.722 hitter against Myers in 19 plate appearances. Proctor came on and, in the process of getting the last two outs, allowed Crawford to steal third, walked two, and gave up a single that plated Crawford. Ron Villone pitched a perfect inning striking out two on Saturday, but undid that good work by blowing a one-run lead on Sunday by surrendering a two-run homer. This after another base runner had been erased on a double play. Vizcaino had to finish his inning as well. Carlos Peña was the terror who hit both home runs against the Yankee pen. Edwar Ramirez was not used.

Defense The Yankees played fantastic defense all weekend. Their only error was Jorge Posada’s catcher’s interference in ninth-inning on Sunday. Melky Cabrera, Alex Rodriguez, and Andy Phillips, who made a game-saving play in the finale, earn special mention for their play in the field.

Conclusion The offense needs to build some momentum. The pitching staff needs to shape up. Joe Torre needs to switch Farnsworth and Vizcaino on his bullpen depth chart and give Edwar Ramirez a fair shake.

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver