The Yankees’ winning streak started in Toronto against the division-leading Blue Jays. It continued against the Twins, who not only boast the services of Mauer and Morneau but who could have won any of the four games in the series. And it occurred without Wang in the rotation and Posada behind the plate and anything remotely resembling a reliable bullpen.
Is it luck? A fluke? Mystique and aura? Or is it because the 2009 Yankees are simply playing like many prognosticators predicted they would?
All I know is that this team, despite the makeshift lineups consisting of no-names like Cervelli, Pena and Cash, despite the mostly awful performances by Jose Veras and Edwar Ramirez, despite the uncertainty of A-Rod’s health, is getting it done. There’s a different hero every day and a sense that everybody is gelling.
Take tonight’s 7-6 victory over the Twins. It wasn’t won in dramatic walkoff fashion, like the previous three games, but Pettitte, who wasn’t sharp, managed to get through six-plus for his fourth “W.” How?
* He had some sparkling defensive plays behind him, including a first-inning stretch by Tex..a second-inning shovel by Cano…a third-inning catch by Damon…and a fourth-inning throw by Cervelli to nab Punto stealing.
* He had powerful offense to pick him up, including two homers by Tex, who continues to heat up and prove why he will be the key to glory this fall.
* He had A-Rod back, not only smacking another one into the seats but providing protection for Tex in the lineup.
* He had Phil Coke to save the game for him, given Mo’s unavailability – Coke’s first save ever. It didn’t come easily. He walked Crede to lead off the ninth and allowed him to score on Cuddyer’s ground out, then walked Gomez, who is now Public Enemy #1 in the Bronx after his tiff with Tex. But he got Redmond to end the game and the sweep, and out came the broom.
The streak will end – I’m not completely naive – but I’m riding it as long as it’ll take me. Yee-hah!