Since last we spoke, the Yanks recovered from the Infinite Inning, and took the last two games of their series against the Royals in Kansas City.
Taking 2 out of 3 from the AL's best squad isn't news, but the way the Yanks did it, by the scores of 4-0 and 3-0, was special. Two of the Yanks' most enigmatic starters -- Mike Mussina and Javier Vazquez, got their stuff together and beat out the Royals like redheaded stepchildren. Mussina pitched 8 innings of 3 hit ball, striking out 11 Royals. Javy's start was just a shade less impressive (7 innings, 3 hits, 4 walks, 7 strikeouts) but maybe more edifying, given Vazquez's struggles of late.
Derek Jeter was the offensive key to both games, going 4-8 with 3 RBIs and a home run. Tony Clark also contributed a homer to Wednesday's game.
In more good news, Jason Giambi's made his comeback over the last two games DHing in both contests. Sure, Jason's rusty -- he's 0-7 with four strikeouts and one walk overall -- but at this point, it's just good to see him in uniform and on the field. Hopefully, the Yankees will know soon enough whether Giambi's ready to return to full-time work.
All of this is setup for the big contest this weekend, Yankees/Red Sox at the Stadium. The Yankees aren't playing at full strength -- the World's Dumbest Pitcher hasn't yet learned to pitch one-handed; Giambi's in early Spring Training shape, if that; Paul Quantrill is an Ichiro-style hit machine. Impressive starts against the 11th best offense in the league aside, Mussina and Vazquez have been time bombs for much of this season. As of this printing, Tanyon Sturtze and CJ Nitkowski are still vital cogs in the bullpen.
Ew. Let me just stop there before I get depressed.
But then again, the Red Sox aren't coming in at 100%, either. Trot Nixon and BH Kim have both suffered lost seasons; Pokey Reese's bat has been bad, even by Pokey standards; Scott Williamson is just returning from injury. But if the big turnarounds by Kevin Millar and Derek Lowe are for real, the Yanks are in for one hell of a series.
My brother and I have tickets to all three games, although I'm only likely to catch Sunday's Pedro/Moose tilt. The weather looms bigger than the Red Sox right now, with rain in the forecast for both Saturday and Sunday.
We'll keep our fingers crossed, both for the Yankees pitchers, and for playing out a full series. Hopefully, I'll see some of you on Sunday.