The Yankees return to the desert tonight, their second trip back since the rain and wind - and journeyman Luis Gonzalez - came out of nowhere and helped the D-Backs steal Game 7 and the 2001 World Series, their first and only title in the twelve year team history. The Yanks took 2 of 3 in their trip to Arizona back in 2004. That's two more games then they took in Arizona during the entire 2001 series!
Unfortunately, for Yankee fans, Ian Kennedy pitched and lost again yesterday to the Tigers. So the Yankee bats won't get to beat up on the former top-prospect some "experts" said was better then Phil Huges (who will be in Anaheim for the All-Star Game this year). Instead they will face Dan Haren tonight who is undefeated in his career vs. the Yankees. That includes starts from Haren's time in Oakland.
It has been nice to see Tex get himself going lately with that bat. So the only question that remains is when is A-Rod going to be A-Rod? Being a HUGE A-Rod fan I still have some hope deep down that he will have one of his monthly tears and be right back on track. Hopefully sooner than later. But I cannot ignore the fact that he is older, he is off steroids (or so he says) and does potentially have a pretty serious hip injury. I hope that's not the case. If it is, then as much as I love watching him play every day, I wish he would shut himself down long enough to get back to 85-90% before the dog days of August. He isn't going to be the starter at the All-Star game and you can bet Joe Girardi will give him the three days off and not bring him along as a reserve player. But that's just one man's opinion. Robbie is having an MVP-like season and if the three of them are hot through October the Yanks, with their stellar starting pitching staff, have a serious chance to defend their crown.
A few fun facts before I sign off:
- Mo is in the midst of the longest consecuitive batters out streak of his CAREER - 21. Hopefully his struggles after coming back from his April injury are behind him.
- Speaking of Mo, Yankee fans all remember when he threw the ball into center field bafore blowing the save, and later the game, that windy and rainy night in Arizona nine years ago. If you watch replays of the play you will notice the dirt from the pitcher's mound extending to the home plate area. It's a rare sight to see on a Major League field anymore, but it was in fact former Yankee's manager Buck Showalter who had the field designed that way. See, Buck was the first manager of the D-Backs from 1998-2000 and when the stadium was built for the new franchise he wanted it to be "unique" and that's why the dirt is there. Who really knows if the different than grass bounces the ball took to Rivera, who seemed handlocked when he fielded it, caused him to rush his throw to second and air-mail Derek Jeter?
Final Word: The Yanks should sweep the D-Backs, who let's face it, just plain stink again this year.