Friday, July 10, 2009

Yanks sweep Twins, head to Anaheim (sound familiar?)

One can make the case that the true end of the Yankee dynasty was their dispirited, ugly 3-1 Divisional Playoff loss to the whatever-they-were Angels in the 2002 playoffs. This was the series where they lost Game 3 after leading 6-0 with a rested Mike Mussina on the mound. Worse yet, this was the fulcrum. Between 1996 and 2001, only two close calls went against the Yankees: Sandy Alomar's homer in the 1997 playoffs and Mo Rivera's errant would-have-been-a-double-play throw that pulled Jeter off the bag in . . . well, you remember.

Those two bad brekas seemed to turn into a dozen; one remembers, from that Game 4, Derek Jeter missing a home run two feet to the left of the foul pole, or Robin Ventura missing a three-run homer when his line drive hit the padding of the center field wall, instead of three feet horizontally to the left.

With the exception of the 2003 Championship Series with the Red Sox, think of Alex Gonzalez' home run against Jeff Weaver, over the precise portion of the outfield wall that was lower than all the rest, Bernie Williams' tying home run the following night, hit fifty feet longer than Alex's but to the deepest part of Dolphins' Stadium . . . then, the following year, Brian Roberts beating Posada's throw by a thousandth of a second . . . Tony Clark's line drive bounding into the Fenway Park bleachers, thus freezing the runner at third . . . Randy Johnson's left arm sputtering to a halt precisely when the Yankees acquired him . . . Joba's adventires in ectymology . . . then last year, season-ending injuries to three of the seven (at the time) most important Yankees. And so on.

Joel Sherman sets up the weekend:

Truly fascinating road trip for the Yanks as they are in the midst of playing the team they always beat (the Twins) and the team they never beat (the Angels). By winning Thursday, the Yanks swept all seven games against Minnesota this year. It is the third time since 2002 that the Yanks swept a season series against Minnesota. In that time, the Yanks have never lost a season series to the Twins and beat them twice in the playoffs.

The Yanks lead their season series against the Angels 2-1 going into this weekend. They have not won a season series from the Angels since 2003. Since 2004, they are 20-31 vs. the Angels and have lost to them twice in the playoffs in this decade.

The Yanks have seven games left this season vs. the Angels, so they cannot win the season series this weekend. But what a great symbol it would be for the Yanks to close the first half with another winning series against the team they can't beat.

1 comment:

SunDevilJoe said...

The Angels always do seem to have the Yankees number but they are hurting with both Hunter and Vlad out. So, let's hope Joba can be a little better than his last start. By the way, Robbie Boy will be there in person on Sat.