Friday, July 5, 2013

Thanks, Yanks, I Needed That

Let the record show that, coming into this series that just concluded between the Yankees and the Minnesota Twins at Minneapolis, the Twins were 36-42.  Not good, but not horrible.

But the old saying, "Thanks, I needed that!" comes to mind.  We needed these 4 wins, badly, just to turn our momentum around.


On Wednesday night, CC Sabathia took the mound for the Yankees, and he was his usual dominant self, going 7 innings, allowing 2 runs on 7 hits and 3 walks, striking out 9.

Of course, it wouldn't have mattered if the Yankees didn't also get enough runs.  This time, they did, all in the 6th inning, turning a 2-0 Twins lead into a 3-2 Yankee win.  Brett Gardner led off with a walk.  Ichiro Suzuki doubled him over to 3rd.  Robinson Cano followed with a double of his own, scoring them both.  Travis Hafner singled Cano over to 3rd.  After a pitching change, Zoilo Almonte struck out, but Lyle Overbay got the decisive run home with a sacrifice fly.

David Robertson pitched a perfect 8th, and Mariano Rivera allowed a soft line-drive single but that was it in the 9th.

WP: Sabathia (9-6).  SV: Rivera (28).  LP: P.J. Walters (2-5 -- and he's now been designated for assignment).

CC is now 200-108 for his career.  He won 106 for the Cleveland Indians, 11 in his half-season with the Milwaukee Brewers, and 83 as a Yankee.

There are now 4 active pitchers with at least 200 wins: CC has 200, Roy Halladay and Tim Hudson each have 201, and Andy Pettitte has 250.

CC's .649 winning percentage also ranks 4th among active pitchers with at least 1,000 innings pitched.  He trails Halladay at .659, Justin Verlander at .655, and Jered Weaver, barely, at .650.  The top 10 is rounded out by Hudson at .644, Jon Lester at .641, The Great Johan Santana at .641, Adam Wainwright at .632, Pettitte at .628, and The Great Cliff Lee at .626.


Yesterday was the 4th of July.  No big holiday doubleheader at Yankee Stadium -- although the Mets nearly played 2 games' worth at Pity Field, losing in 15 innings to the Arizona Diamondbacks.

On the 74th anniversary of Lou Gehrig Day, and the 30th Anniversary of Dave Righetti's no-hitter (that's a milestone, so Anniversary gets a capital A), the Yankees decided some fireworks were in order.  Target Field? The entire field was a target.

1st inning: Ichiro leads off the game with a double.  Almonte singled.  Cano hit a sac fly.  1-0 Yankees.  Hafner doubled.  Vernon Wells, who has woken up out of his horrendous slump, singled.  3-0 Yankees, before the Twins had even come to bat.

3rd: Hafner got hit with a pitch.  A wild pitch sent him to 2nd.  Wells doubled.  4-0 Yankees.  Overbay grounded out.  New acquisition Luis Cruz, as they would say in English soccer, "opened his account," singling to left to drive in Wells.  5-0 Yankees.

(Shown in the photo above, Luis Alfonso Cruz Bojorquez, to use his full Spanish name, is 29, from the Mexican state of Sonora, and is a 6-foot-1, 210-pound utility infielder who bats righthanded.  His Twitter feed, @CochitoCruz, shows that he's trying English, but still having some trouble.  He made his big-league debut in 2008 with the Pittsburgh Pirates, and has also played for the Brewers and the Los Angeles Dodgers.  He's wearing Number 61 for the Yankees, and was the shortstop yesterday.  The Dodgers had released him, and the Yankees signed him when Jayson Nix went on the Disabled List.)

4th: Justin Morneau hit a home run.  5-1 Yankees.  Since this is baseball, not soccer, and the trading deadline (our equivalent of the "transfer window") isn't until July 31, we're not all hopped up on it yet, and there's no @MorneauYankees Twitter feed, nor is there a Facebook page titled "Justin Morneau Welcome to New York."

Yes, I checked.  Please don't change these truths.  Getting Morneau, considering our catching situation and that he's a lefthanded hitter whose swing would be great for Yankee Stadium, would be nice, but let's not get carried away like European soccer fans.

6th: Overbay led off with a walk.  Cruz doubled.  Alberto Gonzalez singled.  6-1 Yankees.  Austin Romine reached on a fielder's choice, Cruz being forced out at home.  Pitching change.  Ichiro launched a triple.  8-1 Yankees.  Almonte grounded out, deep enough with 1 out to get Ichiro home.  9-1 Yankees.

Where was this production, especially with runners in scoring position, all through June? It's looking fine in July.  Now, if we can just get ourselves back into one of the Playoff places, and not have #YankeeRISPfail in October!

David Phelps pitched into the 7th, and then tired.  He allowed 3 singles, plus a flyout, to make it 9-2.  Then Joe Girardi picked up his Binder Full of Strategies, and it said, "You've got a 7-run lead.  This would be a good time to give Joba Chamberlain a test."

The Binder lied.  Joba had nothing allowing a single.  9-3.

With 3 straight lefties up, Girardi knew what to do: Bring in Boone Logan.

I can well remember the words of Papa Bear from the Berenstain Bears books:

That is what you should not do.
Now, let that be a lesson to you.

Logan allowed a sac fly that made it 9-4.  Then he got the 3rd out.

With Morneau leading off the 8th, Grardi  left Logan's Runs in.  And Morneau hit his 2nd home run of the game.  9-5 Yankees.

Look, Morneau's a really good hitter.  But that doesn't matter.  I'll say it again: If a pitcher's one job is to get tough lefty hitters like (fill in the blank: Justin Morneau, Josh Hamilton, Prince Fielder, other) out, and he can't do it, then what the hell is he doing in the major leagues? Boone Logan is a bum! And now it was just a 4-run lead.

Then Logan allowed a single to Trevor Plouffe and walked Chris Parmelee.  And suddenly, from having an 8-run lead, the tying run was on deck!

Finally, Girardi opened the Binder, and it said, "You idiot! Don't you know that Logan is a bum? Get him out of there! Get Shawn Kelley in!"

(Finally, Girardi saw one of the notes I slipped in there.)

Kelley struck out the next 2 batters and got a groundout.  Robertson pitched a 1-2-3 9th.

WP: Phelps (6-5).  No save.  LP: Kyle Gibson (1-1, he was making only his 2nd big-league start, having won his major league sdebut against the Kansas City Royals 5 days earlier).


The Yankees are now 46-39, 6 games behind the Boston Red Sox in the AL East, 5 in the loss column, a game and a half out of a Wild Card berth.  The Baltimore Orioles are 4 1/2 (4) back, the Tampa Bay Rays 6 1/2 (6) back, and the preseason favorite Toronto Blue Jays, having teased with an 11-game winning streak, have since lost 3 straight, and are 11 (10) back.

The Yankees come home to start a 3-game series against the Orioles, hoping for payback for that 3-game sweep at Camden Yards last weekend.

Tonight, 7:00: Ivan Nova vs. Miguel Gonzalez.  In his last appearance vs. the Yankees, the 29-year-old righthander from Guadalajara, Mexico went 7 and pitched very well, but did not get the decision.

Tomorrow afternoon, 1:00: Andy Pettitte vs. Chris Tillman.  The 25-year-old righthander from Anaheim is now the Oriole ace at 10-2.  In his last start, he handcuffed the Yankees for 6 innings, getting the win.

Sunday afternoon, 1:00: Phil Hughes vs. Jason Hammel.  The 29-year-old righthander from South Carolina hasn't faced the Yankees since May 22, but when he did, he pitched very well and got the win.

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