Tony Gwynn & Jeff Passan: Subway Series?
The New York Yankees may have questions about their starting rotation come the postseason, but there is no doubt their offense—when healthy—can be baseball’s most potent.
The Yankees try to complete a three-game sweep of the Baltimore Orioles as the teams conclude their series Thursday at Yankee Stadium.
Yankees manager Joe Torre announced his rotation for the first three games of the AL division series and offered few surprises. Chien-Ming Wang, the winning pitcher in Wednesday’s 16-5 rout, will start Game 1, while Mike Mussina and Randy Johnson will get the ball for Games 2 and 3, respectively.
This was expected after Johnson was scratched from his last regular-season start with back spasms, and Torre wanted to give the 43-year-old left-hander as much time as he needed to be fully healthy, and as he said, get “one good game out of him.”
Matsui added two hits, two runs scored and an RBI, while Sheffield went 2-for-3 with a run scored as every Yankees starter hit safely and scored a run.
“Hitting the ball hard is great, but you want the results,” said Sheffield, who is 5-for-19 in six games since missing four months following wrist surgery. “That way, you can get the confidence going. If I get the confidence going into playoffs, it will be perfect.”
Giambi—who missed the last six games with a sore wrist—ended a 65 at-bat homerless drought with a two-run shot in the second inning, while Alex Rodriguez had two RBIs to raise his team-leading total to 119.
Cano, out from June 25-Aug. 7 with a hamstring injury, recently qualified to be among the American League batting leaders and is second in the AL with a .343 average despite hitting from the No. 9 spot. He is batting .429 (15-for-35) with four homers and eight RBIs during a nine-game hitting streak.
“The best lineup I’ve seen in my life,” Baltimore catcher Ramon Hernandez said. “When the No. 2 hitter in the league is hitting ninth, that’s telling you something.”
Torre will continue his evaluation of the offense, which will try to give Darrell Rasner (3-0, 2.50 ERA) support like Wang received en route to his 19th victory. Rasner is 2-0 as a starter, and defeated Toronto on Sept. 18 by limiting them to three runs and six hits in six innings in New York’s 7-6 win.
The right-hander made a relief appearance Sunday at Tampa Bay, allowing one run and one hit in one-third of an inning.
Daniel Cabrera (8-10, 5.05) tries to win consecutive starts for the third time this season in his final start of 2006. The erratic right-hander picked up a win Friday against Minnesota, which he limited to three runs and five hits in 6 2-3 innings of a 7-3 victory.
Cabrera lost his only start against the Yankees this season, giving up six runs and five hits while walking five through five innings in a 6-1 defeat on April 22. He is 1-3 with a 4.91 ERA in seven lifetime starts against New York, walking 27 in 36 2-3 innings.