"Look Out, Cleveland, the storm is comin’ through,
And it’s runnin’ right up on you." – The Band
The hottest team in the major leaugues over their last 30 games was the Colorado Rockies, who were 22-8 over that stretch. The second-best record over the last 30 was 21-9, a mark shared by this evening’s opponents at Jacobs Field, which sees the New York Yankees facing the Cleveland Indians in game one of the ALDS.
Though the Yankees trailed at least at one point in four out of the six games played head-to-head this season, they did not drop a game to the Tribe and outscored Cleveland 49-17 on the year including 22-6 at the Jake. Wright, Igawa, Henn, Hughes, Mussina, and Pettitte were the game winners, with Henn’s victory being the most dramatic. On April 19th at Yankee Stadium, ace pitcher Fausto Carmona held the Yankees close for most of the game, but Rasner, Myers and Bruney combined for 6 innings to hold the Tribe to a single run, and handed a one-run lead to Luis Vizcaino. The Tribe knocked him around for four runs in the seventh, and went on to score an unearned run in the top half of the ninth on a Robinson Cano throwing error, giving them a 6-2 lead. Josh Phelps homered in the bottom half of the frame with two outs off closer Joe Borowski. Three singles around a walk led to two more runs, followed by the high drama of an Alex Rodriguez walk-off, three-run shot to left center for the 8-6 victory. The score matched their record at the time, but after that early high point, the Yankees went on to get swept at Fenway and lose their next seven games in a row, as well as 23 of their next 36 until their dramatic June turnaround and the eventual recovery of post-season aspirations.
One pitcher the Bombers did not have to face all season is the other ace of the Cleveland staff, Carsten Charles Sabathia. Averaging just over seven innings a start, C.C. Sabathia has given up a remarkable 37 walks in 241 innings, or one walk every 6.51 innings, a hair behind only the notoriously stingy Greg Maddux and Curt Schilling amongst starters, and his strikeout-to-walk ratio of 5.65 is tops in the game for starters. The worthy Cy Young candidate is on the mound tonight, carrying with him a string of five wins in his last six starts having allowed 12 runs over the span of 44 innings, with Cleveland winning each of those games. Another remarkable feat is that he has been brought out of a game in the middle of an inning only four times this season, and not since July 29th.
Chien Ming Wang gets the ball for New York. He did not start against the Tribe this season, and has recorded the loss in only two games over 10 starts since the beginning of August. He split his two starts against the Indians in 2006.
Pete Abraham reported about a freak accident involving a YES photographer falling on Doug Mientkiewicz’s left leg. After getting checked out, taped up, and working through some agility drills, he has been cleared to play.
|New York Yankees|