Yankees 7 Orioles 1: Pettite Is Money; Offense Responds

I can’t say I’m too surprised that Pettite delivered a good start after three straight losses, though I didn’t expect him to be that good. He was outstanding, going seven strong scoreless innings, taking a perfect game into the fifth, and slamming the door shut on a mostly young but confident Orioles team, 7-1. The offense was good enough through six though it struggled against journeyman Steve Trachsel, but turned on the afterburners with five important insurance runs in the last three innings to salt it. Kudos to Damon for easily one of his best games at the plate this season, Jeter cleared the bases with a double to right in the ninth, and the team bounced back well after last night’s debacle. However, A-Rod left the game with a strained quad, coming up a bit lame as he ran to first. He’s day-to-day.

The Yankees had a slightly inauspicious start to today’s game, stranding Jeter at second after his one-out double with consecutive strikeouts from Abreu and A-Rod. Damon singled with two outs in the third but was caught stealing to end the inning. But Pettite stormed through the Orioles lineup, throwing only 18 pitches through two innings–six in the second–and a mere 26 through three. He simply dominated. The Yankees plated two in the fourth, which ended up being enough today. Abreu walked and stole second, scored on A-Rod’s double, 1-0 NY, and A-Rod in turn scored on Matsui’s double to right, 2-0. But Cano grounded him over to third, Giambi worked a walk to put runners on the corners, and Melky fanned to end the rally. Payton and Adam Jones finally got the Orioles base runners with consecutive two-out singles in the fifth, but Pettite escaped that with Melky’s good catch in deep left-center.

In this series, the Yankees have suffered from failing to score runs in one half of the inning, only to see the Orioles immediately give them an object lesson in the consequences of leaving runners on base and in scoring position. I feared this would occur in the sixth, when the Yankees loaded the bases with one out. Abreu singled, A-Rod force him at second then left the game with the right quad injury, Matsui worked a four-pitch walk, Cano singled but Meacham wisely held Ensberg (running for A-Rod) at third to load ’em up. But Giambi summarily grounded into a 4-6-3 DP to end the rally, part of another rough day at the plate for Big G. But Pettite hung tough in the bottom half. With one out Roberts singled, stole second, then took third on a wild pitch–all with one out. But Pettite retired Mora on a 5-3, and fanned the tough Markakis to end the threat, great work from the crafty veteran.

The Yankees added two in the seventh when Moeller (whose theme some at The Stadium should be “Substitute” from The Who) doubled and Damon cranked a homer to right, 4-0. JD, it’s about time you turned on a fastball and yanked it deep. Good job. Pettite again stranded a runner at third with one out. Millar led off with a double, move to third on Scott’s 4-3, but was stranded on Payton’s soft liner and Jones’s ground out. Pettite was dynamite, going seven scoreless and yielding only four hits and no walks with five strike outs on a mere 89 pitches/59 strikes–less than 13 pitches an inning. Girardi turned it over to Joba, who allowed a double and single and came out with no outs because of a rain delay. When action resumed, Bruney entered to prevent Joba needing to warm up again, and Roberts’s sac fly made it 4-1, the second earned run Joba has allowed in his major-league career and the first this season. My understanding is that the Yankees DFA’d Joba before the end of the game but, after a heated discussion between Yankees management, decided to give him one last chance to redeem himself.

The Yankees added on very well today, leaving no doubt after scoring three in the top of the ninth. Big G fanned to keep his streak of futility alive, Melky walked, Moeller the Magnificent singled and took second on Sherrill’s wild pitch, Damon walked on four pitches, and Jeter cranked a first-pitch fastball into the right-field corner to clear ’em, 7-1. Mariano shut it down, not having pitched since Tuesday, getting Scott on a 3U, allowing a single to Payton, fanning Jones, and setting down Quiroz on a pop to Big G. 7-1, ending the losing streak.

Damon was 2-4 with a single, homer, walk, and 2 runs and 2 RBIs to move his average to .213. That’s setting the table, JD. Jeter was 2-5 with 3 RBIs, giving him 11 RBIs on the season and a healthy .309. Moeller the Terrific was 2-4 with 2 runs, Matsui was 1-3 with an RBI, his 9th, hitting a robust .323, A-Rod had an RBI, his 10th, with a run to bat .308, Abreu is at .306 with his hit, and slowly but surely, Cano is inching toward the Mendoza line with his sharp single, but still at .169. Big G is officially down to .111 and is struggling mightily, but this isn’t news this year for Yankees fans.

But the story is Pettite’s gem, exactly what the Yankees needed. They’re 10-10 heading into their first day off this year, coming at a good time as they head to Chicago for a three-game set before heading to Cleveland for four to end the long road trip. I too am heading to Chicago. The family and I will go up Wednesday to see them, and I’ll have my fingers crossed for Mussina for the next three days. Despite that, I absolutely cannot wait. It will be a blast. We got tickets in the upper deck behind home plate off eBay for less than half their face value, plus a parking pass. Sweet! No HDLR that night, sorry. Enjoy the day off, Yanks. Rest up.

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Published in: on April 20, 2008 at 6:47 pm  Comments (12)  

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12 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Enjoy the trip, Jason.

    Pettitte being the stopper…something we’ve seen over and over for so many years.

    With the off-day, expect Kennedy to be pushed back and Pettitte to be kept on schedule. That way he splits the two youngsters.

  2. i’m so glad you decided to go to chicago; the kids will have a great time- no doubt about it!

  3. Mike S., I blogged about adjusting the rotation Thursday night, but differently from your scenario. I like yours better, and I would totally agree with you and the team if they did that with Pettite. Hughes did well until that sixth on Friday, and hopefully Kennedy will get back into the strike zone, but they need to be split up. It should help the bullpen.

    Guys, I am so psyched about the trip to Chicago Wednesday. It should be a blast. We got the tickets for about half the face value plus a parking pass–a steal. I think we might get there early, grab food at the stadium, and get down close and watch batting practice. I expect a mob so autographs for the kids might be tough. Just being there will be terrific. The kids are already writing down food orders.

  4. There is no one I love watching pitching, more than Pettitte. Your so right Jason, it was a gem.
    Hopefully the offense will get going now. I am having a hard time watching Giambi at the plate right now, and hope he can get something going.
    There was some good offense, and even better pitching.
    Has anyone, ever, seen Melvin Mora smile, because if you have, I would need to see a picture for proof.
    I am so excited for you, and the family. Have a wonderful time.
    Dianna

  5. I was just as surprised about Andy, J. I’ve gotten used to expecting him to do well when he need him to but I too didn’t think he’d do that well. It was fun to watch. It’s good that the offense is showing up slightly. I’m stillll waiting for the blowout game lol. I hope you guys have fun in Chicago Jason. Make sure you’re louder than those White Sox fans. 🙂
    http://flairforthedramatic.mlblogs.com

  6. J, I think you need to consider adding the link to this blogger on your sidebar.

    http://3king.mlblogs.com/

  7. i saw this quote today and thought it’s pretty funny:

    “Would those of you in the cheaper seats clap your hands? And the rest of you, if you’ll just rattle your jewelry.”
    – John Lennon

  8. Thanks for the well wishes in Chicago, Dianna and Vanessa. It should be a blast. I always try to be polite and respectful, but I’ll sure cheer my head off. I can get pretty loud, too.

    That cracked me up, Joe. Hilarious. It seems like that person really has a lot to say. I might just delete my blog and let the intellectual whose blog you referred me to take over commentary.

    That is funny, Mike. I’ll sure be clapping. That’s alright. Being there counts.

  9. I’m back just came from Glasgow, Scotland.

    The boxing was great in Vegas. Joe won that fight thats all that counts.

    So your going to Chicago you got to tell me whats been happening.

  10. Mike: Being a Beatles (and Yankees) afficianado, that quote by John Lennon was made at the Royal Command Performance in front of the Queen Mother in late 1963. Lennon made it right before their final song of the set, “Twist and Shout.” The whole perfomance is on the 8 videocassette series of The Beatles Anthology (which, of course, I have).

    The Yanks today did indeed move Kennedy back to Saturday and keep Andy in rotation. He’ll pitch Friday and split the youngsters. Wang goes Tues., Mussina Wed., Hughes Thursday.

  11. mike s, i must say that i continue to be astonished by your wide range of knowledge!

  12. Thanks, Mike. I just Googled the date. The performance was on 11/4/63.

    The British “With the Beatles” LP would be released on Nov. 22, the same day as JFK’s assassination. (This is not the same as Capitol’s Meet the Beatles LP). One week later, I Want to Hold Your Hand/This Boy was released as a single in England. In America, the B-side of I Want to Hold Your Hand was I Saw Her Standing There.

    We know the rest of the story (sorry, Paul Harvey).

    Yup…I know and love the Fab Four as much as the Yankees!


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