Yankees Looking To Shake Off Sluggish First Half
The New York Yankees limped into the All Star break losing three out of four games, (one to Pittsburgh and two out of three to Toronto) and face some daunting questions as they look to make up ground in the American League East in the second half of the season.
Hideki Matsui still has injury problems, and there is a chance he may not make it back this year. Johnny Damon is still out and the Yankees have been plugging the holes with their youth. They probably still have enough fire power in their line-up despite those injuries, but they need to stay relatively injury free if they are going to catch the Red Sox and the Rays.
A-Rod and Jorge Posada have spent time on the disabled list also.
The biggest injury for New York has been to their ace, Chien-Ming Wang. If it wasn’t for Mike Mussina coming through with an unexpectedly good first half, the may not be over five hundred. The bullpen has been surprisingly solid, and Jose Veras and Kyle Farnsworth have been effective setting up for Mariano Rivera. That has made Joba Chamberlain’s transition to the rotation seamless.
The Yankees first series after the break is against a surprising contender, the Oakland A’s. They are six games back of the Angels and and will try to make up ground. Joe Blanton will start for the A’s against Mike Mussina in Yankee Stadium on Friday. Blanton has been up and down in the first half and has twelve losses.
New York needs to jump on Blanton quickly and set the tone for the series. The Yankees have beaten him already this year so they hope to continue that trend. Mussina has a winning record lifetime against Oakland so this match-up favors New York. Look for the Yankees to start quickly and win this first series coming out of the gate.
By Andrew Tonge
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