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Joba Chamberlain might just have pitched himself off the ALDS roster. Chamberlain lasted just 3 2/3 innings and was booed by fans at Yankee Stadium during the Kansas City Royals’ 4-3 victory Wednesday night, which stopped New York’s seven-game winning streak.

Derek Jeter homered leading off the first, and Chamberlain left with a 3-1 deficit before Nick Swisher’s 29th homer tied the score in the fifth, a two-run drive.

Chamberlain allowed three runs, seven hits and four walks, throwing just 52 of 91 pitches for strikes.

With CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett and Andy Pettitte set to start in the first round of the playoffs, Chamberlain either will go to the bullpen or be dropped from the division series roster.

The line of the night came when Chamberlain told reporters in the clubhouse he will do anything to win with the team.

“If they want me to fold towels, I’ll fold towels,” he said. “I don’t really care. I’ll do anything to win on this team.”

The Yankees are off today before going to Tampa to finish the season. The Yankees’ rotation for the playoffs will be starting this weekend.

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Even with their “B” team, the Yankees were still able to easily defeat the Royals 8-2.

Chad Gaudin started and picked up his sixth win of the season. In 6.2 innings pitched he allowed 2 runs on 4 hits, walked 2, and struck out 5.

Ramiro Pena hit his first career homer, which was greeted by the silent treatment in the dugout, then a flurry of back slaps and high fives came afterwards. He got the WWE championship belt also. He also drove in a second run later in the game with an RBI single in the seventh.

The big blow of the game came off the bat of Robinson Cano, a grand slam in the seventh to blow the game wide open and give the Yanks an 8-2 lead. With his RISP struggles this year, it was great to see. It was Cano’s 25th homer of the season. He also doubled in the game, his 48th of the year.

Erick Hinske and Shelley Duncan also had RBI singles.

The bullpen did a good job tonight. Damaso Marte retired the only batter he faced, and Alfredo Aceves threw two perfect innings.

It was the Yankees 101st win of the season, three more wins would give them the most they’ve had since 1998. Here’s an interesting fact I didn’t know until reading other bloggers and checking it online myself: Besides that 1998 season they’ve only won more than 103 games in the last 46 years, and that was in 1964.

Boston lost again, 11-5 to the Blue Jays. Sometimes I wonder if they’re trying to throw away the Wild Card?

The opener of that big four-game set between the Tigers and Twins was rained out. They will play a day-night doubleheader today.

The Yankees captured their third straight victory tonight, climbing over .500 on the season with a 6-1 victory over the Kansas City Royals.

CC Sabathia was back to his old self tonight, going 7.2 innings, striking out 6 and walking none in pitching shutout all the way. He had better command of his fastball and you could hear the pop in the glove as his fastball wooshed past befuddled Royals.

Nick Swisher started at first base and rewarded Joe Girardi with a monster game. Swisher walked twice, hit a triple, a home run, had 3 RBI and 3 runs scored. Trevor and I are in agreement that Swisher needs to start each game. What to do about the outfield? Trade Nady.

Jorge Posada also continued his hot bat with two doubles tonight, along with three ribbies. Xavier Nady went 2 for 4 in right field. Robbie Cano had an off night, getting no hits. Cody Ransom continues to look lost at the plate, dropping his average to .044. Brett Gardner was not much better, but he walked and stole second base on a wild pitch by Robinson Tejada.

After Sabathia left the game, Jose Veras came in to pitch 1.1 inning and in the 9th promptly walked the first batter, allowed two hits and spoiled a bid for a shutout. Luckly the Yankees were able to maintain their victory.

On a side note, when Robinson Tejada came in the fifth to pitch 2.2 innings, he struck out 6 Yankee batters. It’s more evident that the Royal’s bull pen is pretty effective. The Yankee batters who struck out against Tejada were caught by off-speed pitches and mean-lookin’ curveballs that dipped.

The Yankees go for the sweep tomorrow with Joba Chamberlain taking the mound in a 1:05pm start. Then the Yankees will head to Tampa next for a 3-game series before going home to officially open the new Yankee Stadium.

From PeteAbe, as always…

Friday: LHP Andy Pettitte (14-14, 4.54 in 2008) vs. RHP Sidney Ponson (8-5, 5.04 in 2008), 4:10 p.m., YES, WCBS 880

Saturday: LHP CC Sabathia (0-1, 12.46) vs. LHP Horacio Ramirez (1-4, 4.34 in 2008), 7:10, YES, WCBS 880

Sunday: RHP Joba Chamberlain (4-3, 2.60 in 2008) vs. RHP Gil Meche (0-1, 1.29), 2:10, YES, WCBS 880

Projected Division Standings

Minnesota Twins – 92-70

Chicago White Sox – 86-76

Cleveland Indians – 82-80

Kansas City Royals – 79-83

Detroit Tigers – 71-91

Minnesota Twins

The division has not changed much from 2008.  Like every year, the division is really up for grabs for every team except the Royals.  Ultimately, the Twins should take it.  They have the skills and veteran leadership with Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau.  Pitching is suspect, but should be enough in this division to come out on top.  Left-handed pitcher Francisco Lirianois the team’s ace in my mind, but the team has good hopes for right -hander Scott Baker.

Don’t be surprised if the Twins start slow – Mauer should miss the first month or so of the season on the DL.  He had surgery in December to remove a kidney obstruction and has been feeling soreness all spring. 

Detroit Tigers

The Tigers seem to be a lost cause.  The team has not improved after a disappointing 2008 season, where newcomers Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis failed to make the impact the team hoped.  Now, with Detroit marred in the worst economic slump in generations, the Tigers will even have trouble filling the seats.  Record unemployment in Detroit (21%) and Michigan (12%) has led to a 44% decrease in season ticket sales this offseason. 

Cleveland Indians

I’ve got two words to describe how their season will go.  Carl Pavano.  Pavano, who was their most public acquisition this offseason, is pitching Pavano-like this spring.  The oft-injured hurler has a 7.49 ERA this spring – allowing 14 runs in 17 innings pitched. 

Fausto Caramana looks good on the mound this spring and might just be the catalyst necessary for a winning season.  Kerry Wood is set to be the closer – it will be interesting to see how that goes. 

Chicago White Sox

This team is hard to peg.  Less then 4 years since their last World Series Championship, they could win the division as easily as they could finish with a losing record. 

Wilson Betemit (remember him) is having a decent spring and should be the starting third baseman.  With A-Rod out for at least the first 3 weeks, I wonder if the Yanks wish they didn’t trade him for Nick Swisher.  Especially because Swish is going to start the season on the bench. 

With players like Bartolo Colon and AJ Pierzynski, the team could be great.  I think the wild card each year is good old Ozzie.  If the manager can stay sane, the team might have a chance to unseat the Twins as division champs. 

Kansas City Royals

Does anyone even care about this team anymore?  If it wasn’t for Jane Heller’s book, I wouldn’t think this team had actual fans.  Anyways, I wonder if the goal each year is simply don’t finish last in the AL. 

Billy Butler and Alex Gordon are both hitting for power this spring, both over are batting over .300.  Gordon can use this season to make a name for himself or begin fading into obscurity.  Off-season acquisition Coco Crisp should make a difference on a team that had no strong hitters in the bottom of the line-up last season.

I have no idea who their pitchers are, so I won’t say much about them.  But don’t expect much of this team.  That way, should they do even better, we’ll all be happily surprised.

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