Break out the P.F. Flyers, Yanks...
I'm starting to think the Yankees are like the kids in The Sandlot who are running out of schemes to conquer the Beast--the "vicious" canine holding the signed Babe Ruth ball hostage. The Beast, of course, being the Anaheim Angels. Whether it's Erector Sets or Andy Pettitte, both the Sandlot and the Yankees were at a loss when it came to figuring out a way to outsmart their terrifying nemesis.
Not that Chad Gaudin is anything like Benny "the Jet" Rodriguez, but in terms of organic solutions to a hexing problem, our curiously effective pitcher may be the last trick the Yankees are pulling out of their sleeve.
The righty is 1-0 with 3.68 ERA after 4 starts in New York. The guy is really, really growing on me. I'm always confused when he gets the nod because I can never remember what exactly he's doing on the Yankees.
I still look at him like he's just guest bartending or something. Or he's the extra softball player you pick up on the streets when your coworker has to stay late and can't make the company game. And yet despite this less than ringing endorsement, the Yankees have yet to lose a game he's started. (That jinx was straight out of the John Sterling School of Broadcasting. Jinxes may not be reproduced without the express written consent of Major League Baseball.)
Gaudin will face Ervin Santana (7-8, 4.76) who hasn't gotten a win in 5 starts. The shelf life for pitching talent is seriously diminishing with every year. I wouldn't be surprised if pitchers become as disposal as they are in fantasy playoffs, when you can add and drop with unlimited frequency, stacking your rotation with whomever's hot.
Eh, it works that way in non-baseball real world business, so I can't be too sympathetic of the revolving door nature of the baseball business.
The Angels have their steamroller on cruise control, having seamlessly locked up their third straight 90-win season (psh, whatever) and maintain a comfortable 7.5 game lead over the Rangers in the AL West.
(They're like my college roommates who got job offers from accounting firms in the middle of our senior year and who then had the luxury of just working towards maintaining their GPA, without the anxiety of finding a job after graduation. The Yankees, on the other hand, have English Major-esque insecurities. Not only are they stressing about getting through the season, but once they do, they have the joy of "now what the hell do I do?" to look forward to in the playoffs.)
Speaking of delights on the horizon, Vlad is showing no mercy these days (more so than usual actually), hitting .356 in the last 12 games. Which isn't as daunting as the fact he's hitting .421 in the last 13 meetings with the Yanks at Anaheim.
Just to drive the point home, the Yanks have yet to win a game in Angel Stadium this year. We can point to the bats, who have been outscored 34-10 in four games there. Or the pitchers, who are 0-4 with a dainty 7.27 ERA during that time.
Another point that bears repeating: the Yankees only have to win ONE GAME to secure a playoff spot. ONE. Forget about locking up the division, just clear this "hurdle" and then we'll whip ourselves into a frenzy about The Greatest Rivalry in Sports Mega Extreme Ultra Showdown Death Match this weekend.
Baby steps, Yanks. And by "baby steps," I mean, stop f'n around and just please leave us fans to the illusion that the Angels are not the equivalent of a cartoon banana peel.