Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Yankees tamed by...Brett Tomko?

It won't be remembered along the same lines of USA 4, USSR 3 or Jets 16, Colts 7, but the Yankees' loss to the Brett Tomko-led Oakland A's on Monday night certainly deserves its place somewhere on the Upset Scale.

You remember Brett Tomko, right? The 36-year-old right-hander served as New York's mop-up man during the first half. He is perhaps best known for being unspeakably awful in his 15 appearances in pinstripes.

Tomko was upset with the organization upon getting DFA'd last month, feeling he hadn't been used enough to be effective. I don't even think he was joking.

But there he was at the hideous Oakland Coliseum on Monday, dancing through five innings unscathed to pick up his first win with the A's. Special thanks are in order to A-Rod for his splendid bases-loaded at-bat in the third inning. The 1-2-3 double play set the tone for the game.

I'd be interested to know how the Yankees felt about losing to their disposed mop-up man, but I'm not entirely sure they were even at the game. This was a poor effort by the team, the second straight stinker after an unreal four-week run.

This is no time to panic, of course. The Yankees are 74-45 and seven games ahead of the Red Sox in the AL East. But with a three-game series looming at Fenway Park this weekend, the Yankees shouldn't mess around against a lowly Oakland team.

CC Sabathia gets the ball on Tuesday. The big lefty is coming off back-to-back excellent starts and looks to be on the precipice of one of his classic second-half rolls. In his last two outings, Sabathia has allowed one run over 15 2/3 innings, striking out 19 and walking four. His ERA is down to 3.64.

Sabathia is the one player that separates this Yankee team from the others that failed this decade. He is a true stopper. Following a pair of ugly losses coming off a long winning run, logic dictates the Yankees are heading toward a losing streak.

It's in Sabathia's job description to make sure stuff like that doesn't happen. He punches in for another shift tonight.

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