Friday, June 7, 2013

Dr. Phil Good, and Yanks Bang Harang With Back-to-Back Jacks

The Yankees are in Seattle, America's rain capital, but thanks to Tropical Storm Andrea, we're the ones getting drenched.

Because I grew up in the 1970s and '80s, when Pacific Coast roadtrips always seemed to set the Yankees back, especially in August when they still had a chance at the AL East title, I get nervous when they go out there.  I keep expected the Borg roadtrip: Losing 7 of 9.

Last night, in the opener of a 4-game set at Safeco Field, Phil Hughes started against Aaron Harang.  Hughes has been shaky lately.  Well, last night, Hughes was fantastic, pitching into the 8th inning, allowing 1 run, unearned, on 3 hits and 2 walks, striking out 7.

Harang wasn't so lucky.  You talk about "one bad inning"? That was the top of the 3rd.  Aside from that inning, the Yankees only got 1 hit and were shut out, as Blake Beavan (no, I'd never heard of him, either) pitched nearly 7 innings of nearly flawless ball.  Ah, but that top of the 3rd...

* Jayson Nix led off with a single to left.

* Austin Romine struck out.  1 out.

* Brett Gardner singled to right, moving Nix over to 3rd.

* Robinson Cano hit one out, his 15th home run of the season.  3-0 Yankees.

* Mark Teixeira continued his hot return from the Disabled List, making it back-to-back homers, his 3rd.  4-0 Yankees.

* Travis Hafner singled to center.

* Kevin Youkilis doubled to right.  Hafner, not the swiftest of men, only got to 3rd.

* Vernon Wells blooped one that Mariner 2nd baseman Nick Franklin could only deflect.  Wells got credit for a hit.  Hafner scored.  5-0 Yankees.

* Ichiro Suzuki, Seattle's returning hero, singled to left.  6-0 Yankees, who had now batted around.

Only then did Mariner manager Eric Wedge pull Harang and bring in Beavan, who then struck out Nix and got Romine to ground into a forceout to end the big inning.

The Yankees played Skrillex Ball: Bang Harang.

That 6-0 score held up until the bottom of the 8th, when Hughes tired, and allowed a leadoff walk.  Joe Girardi brought in Preston Claiborne, who got a forceout, but an error put men on 1st & 2nd -- the man on 1st being former Pittsburgh and Boston star, and Met failure, Jason Bay.

Girardi once again showed how much he hates me by seeing a lefthanded batter, Kyle Seager, and bringing in Boone Logan.

It was then that Yankee radio announcer John Sterling said, "Joe Girardi is very judicious with how he uses Boone Logan." He was making the point that Logan was the only lefty in the Yankee bullpen.  This is not true: There's Vidal Nuno, who is not a full-time starter -- not yet, anyway.

Girardi is judicious with how he uses Logan? Yeah, he is -- just like I'm judicious with how I drink a Dunkin Donuts large mocha swirl iced latte! (I order one every day at the DD near my office.  It's so big, my boss calls it "the bucket of chocolate.")

"Joe Girardi is very judicious with how he uses Boone Logan"? The hell he is? Or, as they would say in English soccer, "Is he f---!"

Logan is brought into games specifically to get out lefthanded batters like Kyle Seager.  So what happened? Seager hit a line drive to right that even the speedy Ichiro couldn't hold to a single.  There goes the shutout.

The next batter was our old friend Raul Ibanez.  Also a lefty.  Girardi left Logan in.  So let me get this straight: You got a guy whose sole purpose is to drive you to work without crashing the car, and yesterday he crashed the car anyway, and you let him drive you to work again today? A home run -- and we know Ibanez can hit them, and we know Logan can give them up -- and suddenly it's 6-4, and now, as Sterling would say, the Mariners are within a bloop and a blast.

Seriously: I would never, ever, ever bring Logan in to pitch.  I would let him rot on the bench until I could trade him, or let him clear waivers and release him.  (At this point, sending him down to the minors wouldn't do any good.)

And then, like flipping a switch, Logan stopped making Girardi look like a fool, and started making me look like one.  He struck Ibanez out.  Then, with Kendrys Morales, a switch-hitter, up next, Girardi decided to leave Logan in, and force Morales to switch to his weaker right side.  And Logan struck Morales out to end the inning.

I still wouldn't have brought Logan in.  In fact, even after the leadoff walk, I would've left Hughes in to pitch to at least 1 more batter.  After all, as Mark Feinsand said in today's New York Daily News, Hughes was "Dr. Phil Good." (A play on both Dr. Phil McGraw and the old term for a drug dealer, Dr. Feelgood.)

In the 9th, Shawn Kelley was brought in, and he went 1-2-3 to finish the 6-1 Yankee win.

WP: Hughes (3-4).  No save.  LP: Harang (2-6).

The series continues tonight.  Hiroki Kuroda starts against former Detroit Tiger pitcher Jeremy Bonderman.

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