Al Davis would approve of Yankees

MIKE RUTSEY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:45 AM ET

TORONTO - Fans of the New York Yankees possess an elevated angst regarding their team of choice.

As a backer of the Bronx Bombers, it's a given that youtr team will make it to the post-season. It's not so much if your team will advance to the playoffs, but by how many lengths will they win?

Over the past three weeks or so, the Yankees' relentless march into the post-season as the best team in the American League East has slowed from a sprint to a trot.

But onward they march with no real opposition in sight.

The Yankees have dropped 12 of their past 19 games to see their lead in the AL East drop from double digits to below five games.

Still, no fan is happy to see their team wobble in the standings and if Yankees fans can conjure up some sense of panic, rip a page out of the 2011 Red Sox playbook, so be it.

As for the lads that wear the vaunted pinstripes, they collectively ripped a page out of the playbook of Al Davis, the late, great and eccentric owner of the Oakland Raiders who coined the phrase "Just win, baby."

In a sloppy game against the Detroit Tigers on Wednesday, the Yankees turned a 7-0 lead into a nailbiter only to emerge with a 12-8 victory and afterwards, from manager to player and back again, it was all Al Davis all the time.

"I don't think I'm really concerned with how we play as long as we win," veteran third baseman/designated hitter Eric Chavez said. "However we get it done, whether it's a 1-0 shutout or whatever it is, right now, this time of the year, a W is all that matters."

At this time of the season, though, that's the point.

Currently the Yankees are getting by without the services of Alex Rodriguez, who has been out since July 24 with a fractured left hand, and left-handed starter Andy Pettitte, who is recovering from a broken left leg. Both are expected to return some time in September.

Obviously the team suffers without them.

"Do we miss Alex and Andy Pettitte? Yes," Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said recently. "At the same time we are capable of fighting through it. I think it has to do with poor baseball. We have guys in slumps and not doing well."

In running up against the crippled Blue Jays, the Yankees will face the perfect team to restore their swagger.

The Yankees have the firepower to hammer clubs with suspect pitching.

The real angst for their fans will come playoff time and the question that will rise is whether or not they have the pitching that can carry them to a long playoff run.

That one has yet to be answered,

For the time being they'll pound out the W's the Al Davis way.


YANKEES AT BLUE JAYS

FRIDAY 7:07 p.m. RHP Freddy Garcia vs. LHP Ricky Romero

SATURDAY 1:07 p.m. RHP Ivan Nova vs. LHP Aaron Laffey

SUNDAY 1:07 p.m. RHP Phil Hughes vs. LHP J.A. Happ


RUTSEY'S TAKE

For the past couple of decades, the one thing the Yankees have shown they can do better than any team in the American League is murder mediocre pitching. They can be stopped by good pitching but mediocre pitching they destroy. The Jays starters these days are strictly mediocre so it could get ugly.

PREDICTION

The last time the teams met, the Yankees swept a three-game series in New York and outscored them 18-4. The Jays are reeling and will be lucky to win one of the three.


YANKEES WHO'S HOT

  • SS Derek Jeter is hitting .313 on the season and in his past 14 games he is hitting .355 (22-for-62) with seven runs scored, one home run and seven RBIs.
  • RHP David Phelps is a pitcher with a very high ceiling. He has allowed just three hits and walked two while striking out 14 while posting 11 2/3 scoreless innings in seven relief appearances since being recalled on July 18.
  • 3B Eric Chavez is 14-for-30 (.467) with four home runs and nine RBIs over his past nine games.

YANKEES WHO'S COLD

  • OF Andruw Jones is not getting a lot of action of late and has just four hits in his past 20 at-bats. However, when he connects it goes a long way. Five of his past 11 hits have been home runs.
  • C Russell Martin is struggling at the plate this season and sports a .194 batting average. He has six hits in his past 22 at-bats.
  • 1B Mark Teixeira was 2-for-4 with two RBIs on Wednesday and had a home run on Thursday, but he has just 10 hits in his past 46 at-bats (.217).

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