I wasn't able to post yesterday -- and was under the impression that I would not be able to post again until Monday morning. Thankfully, that is not the case.
On Wednesday night, Ivan Nova continued his progress from prospect to reliable member of the Yankee starting rotation. That he has gone 11-4 with a 3.85 ERA (ERA+ 106) in the American League, and is averaging a walk only every 2.73 innings, along with the fine reclamation performances of Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia, has shown that, once again, the Yankees don't need no stinkin' Cliff Lee.
On the other hand, Garrett Richards (0-1) was making his major league debut for the This Year's Name Here Angels of Anaheim, and the Yankees gave him a warm welcome to The Show. In fact, it was so hot, he got burned. Curtis Granderson homered off him in the 1st and again in the 5th, and that was pretty much the story. Robinson Cano also homered. Yankees 9, Angels 3.
Then, yesterday afternoon, we had a doozy. Colon started, and pitched 6 effective innings. Granderson hit another homer, his 32nd of the season, tying him with Mark Teixeira for the team lead and putting them both one behind Jose (Go Ahead and Test Me For Steroids Anytime) Bautista of the Pesky Blue Jays of Toronto.
In the bottom of the 7th, Fernando Rodney was pitching for the Angels, in relief of Tyler Chatwood. (Sounds like a soap opera character.) An error by Angel 2nd baseman Maicer Izturis kept the inning alive and loaded the bases. Cano called the deli and ordered a grand salami. It was 6-2 Yankees, making Rafael Soriano, who had relieved Colon, the pitcher of record.
But Cory Wade allowed 2 runners in the 9th, and Joe Girardi had to call on Mariano Rivera. Mo's last 2 appearances had been blown saves. He does that from time to time: Have 2 bad games in a row. But never 3.
Oops: Mo allowed a home run to former Cleveland Indians star Russell Branyan. It was 6-5! With only one out! Mo can't possibly blow 3 straight appearances, can he?
Well, he is 41 1/2 years old...
But, as somebody once said, "Give Mariano Rivera a ONE-run lead, no problem." He got Erick Aybar to ground out and Alberto Callaspo to fly out to end it in the Pinstripes' favor.
WP: Soriano (2-1). SV: Rivera (30). LP: Rodney (2-4).
Tonight, the Yankees begin a 3-game series at home against the Tampa Bay Rays, before heading out on a 7-game roadtrip to Kansas City and Minnesota. It'll be the 2 aces, CC Sabathia and David Price -- Price making his first trip to Yankee Stadium II since giving up a home run for Derek Jeter's 3,000th hit.
Alex Rodriguez is set to begin his minor-league injury rehab tonight. He could be back at the top level in a week. Good news, especially with the Yankees still in 2nd place -- although just 1 game behind The Scum.
Jeter hits 3033 DONE
Rivera saves 589 12
A-Rod homers 626 137
A-Rod hits 2762 238
Dustin Johnson, Jon Rahm advance to semifinals of Match Play
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