Today’s news is powered by interviews and footage of “My Morning Jacket” (A very cool band. Their last album “Evil Urges” was at the top of many reviewers’ “Best Of” lists last year):
- To the victor goes the post-season scheduling choice:
The official rule gives the team with the best record one hour to make its choice after either clinching the top spot or learning its first-round opponent — whichever comes later. Because the Yankees clinched the AL’s best record before the ALDS matchups were finalized, they should have several days to discuss their options before they must choose.
. . . Seemingly, the most compelling arguments are for the longer series, which would allow the Yankees to rest their bullpen and — perhaps more important — use only three starters, all on regular rest. Though Joba Chamberlain is now stretched out long enough to start games in the postseason, he has no doubt been erratic over the past two months, and the Yankees may be better served to use him out of the bullpen in the ALDS.
The longer series would allow them to do just that, as well as carry an extra bench player without needing to overuse Mariano Rivera or Phil Hughes out of the bullpen.
- Those off-season moves (CC, A.J., Teix and . . . Swisher!) pay off:
As the Yankees celebrated clinching the American League East title after their 4-2 win over the Boston Red Sox on Sunday, several players discussed the difference that the three free agents made in 2009. Sabathia leads the American League with 19 wins, Teixeira has 38 homers and a league best 120 runs batted in and Burnett won 12 games.
“It starts with the Steinbrenners,” said Johnny Damon. “They knew that we needed to go get a guy like C.C., to bring another guy like A.J. along and then, after that, we were able to get Teix. So those are three of the top free agents from last year’s class and we were able to bring them in. And we could see the difference of where we’re at.”
- Joe Sheehan sees the clincher, and reflects upon the season:
All three iterations of the ballpark, in fact, have hosted successful Yankee teams in their first seasons: the 1923 and 1976 Yankees both won AL pennants, and the ’23 team won the franchise’s first World Championship.
It remains to be seen whether the ’09 version will match that level of success, but it’s within their reach now. This Yankees team has been considerable more successful than I expected, on its way to 103, 104 wins in a season where I picked them to win 95. Some of the team’s improvement from last year’s 89-73 mark were anticipated: CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett improving the rotation, Mark Teixeira providing more offense and much more defense at first base, Jorge Posada coming back from a lost season to make the catcher spot an asset rather than a problem.
On top of all that, though, the Yankees got unexpectedly good seasons from Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui, veterans who had been declining in their thirties. Robinson Cano bounced back from his worst season to match his best ones. Derek Jeter is having one of the best seasons of his career, arguably his second-best when you consider that he’s getting to more balls at shortstop than he did during his best offensive campaigns. Throw in some good fortune—the Yankees are 21-15 in one-run games and have outperformed their Pythagorean expectation by eight games—and you have a team that has been better and had better luck than in any year in some time.
- Happy 32nd birthday to Jake Westbrook.
- On this date in 1928 – The New York Yankees and Detroit Tigers combine for an American League record 45 hits in a nine inning game. The Tigers get 28 of the hits in a 19-10 win.