Flanked by four men, George Steinbrenner entered Yankee Stadium at 12:05 p.m. yesterday to watch his first-place club.
When asked if he was pleased with the Yankees’ play in recent weeks, Steinbrenner said, “I’m not happy about [Friday's 7-4 loss], I’ll tell you that.”
Four hours later, he acknowledged that the win put him in a good mood and that he’s “always worried about Boston.”
Just looking at the Yankees pitching rotation, and their upcoming schedule, the Boss should be worried.
Joe Torre and his staff have a big question on how to handle that day-night double-dip up at Fenway on August 18th.
Wang will pitch one of those games – as his regular turn. But, who pitches the other game?
The Yankees could use Randy Johnson on short rest for the second game. But, then, Mussina, Lidle and Wright all have to pitch the next three games on short rest as well. And, do you really want Wright pitching in Fenway, at all?
Or, the Yankees could use a spot starter in that non-Wang game on the 18th, and then have Johnson, Mussina and Lidle pitch the last three games of the series on full/normal rest. I like that idea except for one issue. Who would that spot starter be? Knowing Torre, it’s going to be Sidney Ponson.
Just thinking of that makes my stomach turn.
Again, and, sorry to beat a dead horse, but, this is why is was stupid of the Yankees to skip Lidle the other day. That extra day of rest for the Yankees rotation would have been nice to have in the bank – and helped with the decision to ask Johnson, Mussina, and the others to pitch on short rest in Boston.
It’s a shame that Torre & Crew are not capable of forward thinking. Then again, seeing how Torre burns out relief pitchers, it’s probably safe to say that forward thinking is not something that Torre ever considers. (Unless, of course, it’s something like leaving Mussina on the West Coast during the post-season last year.)
For what it’s worth, Boston has some noodling to do on the Yankees upcoming visit to Fenway as well. The Red Sox have an off-day on August 17th. Do they use that off-day to skip Jason Johnson? If they do, then Beckett and Schilling will have to face the Yankees on short rest.
If I had to guess, I would predict that the Red Sox do not skip Johnson. And, if they don’t, then the Yankees might try and match up Wang against him – to try and lock in at least one great shot at a win in Fenway.
It’s going to a very interesting series in Fenway. And, Big Stein has a legit reason to be worried.