Friday, June 20, 2014

Mr. Phelps, Bats Show Sweeping Jays NOT "Mission: Impossible"

"Good evening, Mr. Phelps. Your mission, which is one I feel that you must accept, is to pitch well enough against the Toronto Blue Jays to give the Yankee bats a chance to win the game and sweep a series against them."

Mission: Impossible? Nope. Mission Accomplished.

We have come to expect good pitching performances from Masahiro Tanaka, as we got on Tuesday night; and they've begun to come for Chase Whitley, as one did on Wednesday night.

But David Phelps hasn't done too well, so I was not confident going into last night's game.

But, in spite of giving up a home run to our old friend Melky Cabrera, Phelps got the job done. He went 7 innings, and allowed just 2 runs on 6 hits and 2 walks.

The Yankees didn't get a big inning. Rather, they chipped away. In the 1st inning, they got a leadoff double from Brett Gardner, a single by Derek Jeter, and a sacrifice fly from Jacoby Ellsbury. In the 2nd, another sac fly, from Kelly Johnson, got Brian McCann home. Yet another sac fly came in the 3rd, Carlos Beltran getting Ellsbury home.

Beltran struck again in the 5th, doubling Ellsbury home. A Jeter groundout scored Brian Roberts in the 6th, and Yangervis Solarte worked a bases-loaded walk to force home a run in the 7th.

"Small ball," just the way Joe Torre and the 1996 Yankees liked it.

Shawn Kelley came in to relieve Phelps in the 8th, but didn't have it, giving up a home run to Edwin Encarnacion, one of those guys who always seems to do well against the Yankees, making me call the Toronto team "those pesky Blue Jays." Matt Thornton had to bail him out, and then Adam Warren got the last 2 outs in the 9th to end it.

Yankees 6, Blue Jays 4. WP: Phelps (3-4). SV: Warren (2). LP: Drew Hutchinson (5-5).

Sweep of the 1st place team completed. Not that long ago, people were writing the Yankees off. Now, we are just a game and a half out of 1st -- tied in the All-Important Loss Column.

So the people writing the Yankees off? As always, they're blithering idiots. Mission: Impossible? As "Epic" Lloyd Ahlquist (playing Pablo Picasso in Epic Rap Battles of History) would say, "Don't use that word like you know what it is!"


Tonight, the Yankees begin a 3-game series against the Baltimore Orioles at Yankee Stadium II. Here are the projected pitching matchups:

Tonight, 7:05 PM: Hiroki Kuroda vs. Ubaldo Jimenez.

Tomorrow, 1:05 PM: Vidal Nuno vs. Bud Norris. That's Bud, not Chuck Norris. (Another character played by Epic Loyd in ERBOH.) Before the game, the Yankees will honor Tino Martinez with a Plaque in Monument Park -- the first player so honored in the new Stadium. (George Steinbrenner got one, and Mariano Rivera has had his Number 42, retired, but, as yet, neither he nor any other player has gotten a Plaque since Red Ruffing at the old Stadium in 2004.)

Sunday, 2:05 PM: Masahiro Tanaka vs. Chris Tillman. This will be Old-Timers' Day, and the Yankees will honor Goose Gossage with a Plaque in Monument Park. (Apparently, both Tino's Number 24 and Goose's Number 54 will remain in circulation, so they will join Lefty Gomez, Red Ruffing and Allie Reynolds as getting Plaques but not number retirements. Mo is the only player with a retired number but not, as yet, a Plaque.) Fans are encouraged to be in their seats by 11:15 AM, for player introductions and the Old-Timers' Game.

Here are the Yankee figures scheduled to attend:

From the 1947-64 Dynasty: Yogi Berra, Whitey Ford (will almost certainly be driven to home plate in a golf cart as the last players introduced), Dr. Bobby Brown, Don Larsen, Bobby Richardson, Hector Lopez, Al Downing, Joe Pepitone, Jake Gibbs.

From the 1965-75 Interregnum: Gene Michael (better-remembered as the architect of the 1996-2003 Dynasty).

From the 1976-81 Dynasty: Reggie Jackson, Ron Guidry, Goose Gossage, Roy White, Mickey Rivers, Willie Randolph, Bucky Dent, Brian Doyle, trainer Gene Monahan..

From the 1982-92 Interregnum: Rickey Henderson, Jesse Barfield, Lee Mazzilli, Scott Bradley, Scott Kamieniecki, Pat Kelly, Stump Merrill, John Montefusco (the Long Branch, Monmouth County, New Jersey native, best known for pitching for the San Francisco Giants, is making his first OTD appearance as a Yankee).

From the 1996-2003 Dynasty: Joe Torre, Paul O'Neill, David Cone, Tino Martinez, Joe Girardi, Charlie Hayes, Graeme Lloyd, Jeff Nelson, David Wells, Orlando "El Duque" Hernandez, Brian Boehringer, Andy Phillips.

From the 2004-08 Interregnum: John Flaherty.

From the 2009 World Champions: Hideki Matsui (making his first OTD appearance), Johnny Damon (newly retired and making his first OTD appearance).

Representing their husbands: Maggie Coleman (Mrs. Jerry), Jill Martin (the 4th and final Mrs. Billy), Arlene Howard (Mrs. Elston), Kay Murcer (Mrs. Bobby), Diana Munson (Mrs. Thurman), Helen Hunter (Mrs. Jim "Catfish").


Also, the Yankees have activated backup catcher Francisco Cervelli from the Disabled List, and sent John Ryan Murphy back down to Triple-A. And CC Sabathia is said to be doing well in his rehab. Who knows, we may only need to replace one of our stopgap starters -- probably Nuno, and not Phelps. A rotation of Tanaka, Kuroda, Sabathia, Whitley and Phelps wouldn't be bad at all.

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