Can the Yankees make another dramatic second half run at the postseason? Well the journey begins today as the Yankees kick off the second half with a 3-game series against the Oakland A's.
The Yankees stumbled into the break losing 2 out of 3 to the Blue Jays in Toronto, and losing 8 of their last 14 overall. They have a 50-45 record and are 6 games behind the first place Red Sox and 5.5 games behind the Wild Card leading Rays.
One of the teams the Yanks are chasing in the Wild Card race is the A's. But after trading away two of their top pitchers in the last two weeks you have to believe that they will eventually fade. (Or at least you have to hope they will.) The A's, like the Yankees, did not play their best baseball heading into the break, losing 7 of their final 13 games.
If the Yankees are going to make a run they need to take advantage of every opportunity to gain ground, and this is their first chance.
Game 1 - Today @ 7:05 p.m.
TV: MY9; Radio: WCBS 880
Mike Mussina RHP (11-6, 3.61) vs. Greg Smith LHP (5-7, 3.43)
Game 2 - Tomorrow @ 1:05 p.m.
TV: YES; Radio: WCBS 880
Joba Chamberlain RHP (2-3, 2.61) vs. Justin Duchscherer RHP (10-5, 1.82)
Game 3 - Sunday @ 1:05 p.m.
TV: YES; Radio: WCBS 880
Andy Pettitte LHP (10-6, 4.03) vs. Sean Gallager RHP (4-4, 4.25)
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Yankees - Jason Giambi: Will the power of the 'stache carry over into the second half? It seemed to have slowed down a bit heading into the All-Star break; he's hitting just .182 with 2 HR and 9 RBI in July, but maybe a few days of pounding Jack Daniels right out of the bottle did him some good.
In his career against his former team Giambi is a .265 hitter, with 11 HR, 34 RBI and a .937 ERA.
This season, in three games, he's hitting .400 with a homer, 3 RBI, and an OPS of 1.300.
Giambi vs. Smith: NR
Giambi vs. Duchscherer: .714 (5-for-7), 3 HR, 5 RBI, 3.000 OPS
Giambi vs. Gallager: NR
A's - Jack Cust: The slugger leads the A's in homers (18) and RBI (47), and as a lefty he will be eying that short porch in right. He's an all or nothing hitter as his .229 batting average shows us. Very similar to the Yankees recent acquisition, Richie Sexson, but only better.
In 16 games in his career against the Yankees Cust is hitting .282, with 2 HR, 8 RBI and a .904 OPS. At The Stadium he's a .304 hitter, with 1 HR, 4 RBI, and an OPS of .906.
Cust vs. Mussina: .167 (1-for-6)
Cust vs. Joba: NR
Cust vs. Pettitte: .400 (2-for-5), HR, 3 RBI
- Chien-Ming Wang is out till at least September with a mid-foot tearing of the Lisfranc ligament and a partial tear of the peroneal longus tendon.
- Phil Hughes is out till at least August, most likely September, with a stress fracture of the rib.
- Brian Bruney is out with an injured foot, but could return after the All Star break. He's now pitching with AAA Scranton, and could return shortly.
- Jonathan Albaladejo is out for the year with a stress fracture in his right elbow.
- Hideki Matsui is on the 15-day DL with an inflamed left knee. It looks likely that he will need season-ending surgery.
- Johnny Damon is on the 15-day DL with a shoulder injury. He thinks he could be back in a week.
- Ryan Sweeney is day-to-day with a finger injury. He could return today.
- Bobby Crosby is on the 15-day DL with a strained left hamstring.
- Frank Thomas is on the 15-day DL with right quad tendinitis.
- Mike Sweeney is on the 60-day DL after having surgery on his right knee. He will be out at least 4-6 weeks.
- Eric Chavez is on the 15-day DL with right shoulder inflammation.
- Keith Foulke is on the 15-day DL with right shoulder inflammation.
- Chris Denorfia is on the 15-day DL with lower back tightness.
- Joey Devine is on the 15-day DL with right elbow inflammation.