I'll still maintain that the postseason is a different story, but for this regular season, the resurrection of Alex Rodriguez's Yankees career is complete. No more doubts, no more boos, no more demands for him to be traded. Down 6-2 with two outs in the ninth, Josh Phelps hit what seemed to be a harmless solo homer (OK, so it was good today that he was eventually at first base). But then hits from Jorge Posada, Johnny Damon, Derek Jeter and Bobby Abreu brought A-Rod to the plate with runners at second and third in a one-run contest. The second pitch wound up over the center field wall and Alex found himself in the middle of the mosh pit at home plate. His second walk-off homer in the last two weeks, and his 10th home run and 26th RBI in 14 games.
At this point, the Yankees would likely be 5-9 or worse without Rodriguez. Instead they're 8-6.
What a win.
As for the Red Sox series, the pitching matchups this weekend don't look great from the Yankees' perspective, but any rush to get Chien-Ming Wang into Sunday's game, as some have suggested, would be a bad decision. If you need to take your lumps this weekend to make sure Wang is healthy this year, then you have to do it.
I was trying to figure out why this Yankees-Red Sox series doesn't seem to have as much excitement for me as others in recent years and I may have hit on it. Every year since 2003, the Yankees and Red Sox have played late-season series that were pivotal to each teams' fortunes. In 2003, Aaron Boone went deep in extra innings in Game 7 of the ALCS. In 2004, "it" happened. In 2005, the teams played a three-game set on the last weekend of the year with the possibility one would make the playoffs and the other wouldn't (both did, with the Yankees winning the division). Last year, the Sox finished third and were pretty much done after the five-game sweep in mid-August. There's no sense of one side or the other feeling injured from the year before.
I guess I would describe this series as "fun." Since it's so early in the year, it's hard to say it's "important." But fun is still good.
Yes, Joe Torre's predilection to take starting pitchers out too early is really starting to worry me.
CORRECTION: Damon walked in that ninth-inning sequence today, he did not get a hit as the others did.