Yankees 6 Twins 5: Mussina Settles In, Offense Heats Up

Other than a rough first, Mike Mussina had a very good six-inning stint. The offense was excellent in coming back from a 4-1 deficit despite squandering some chances. Mariano capped some bullpen instability last night with a typically outstanding inning, nailing down a big 6-5 win over the Twins in the first of four games in Minnesota. Lots of fun last night in the HDLR. Many thanks to everyone who dropped by, and safe travels to Tim the Wizard, who leaves today for India, Vietnam, and other ports of call. As that immortal 20th century philosopher, Bugs Bunny, would say, “Hasty Bananas!”

The Yanks started last night’s game well, scoring right away in the first. Abreu walked and stole second as part of a huge night for him, and Matsui flung out his bat and blooped a single into shallow left with Abreu running hard all the way, 1-0 Yanks. It didn’t last long as the Twins scored four, aided by some shoddy defense. Casilla singled, Mauer walked. Morneau hit an easy grounder to Duncan at first and, as he tried to throw to second for at least a force, threw it away and pulled Jeter off the bag, E3, everyone safe. Oh, to have a first baseman who can turn a 3-6-3. Conecutive RBI singles from Cuddyer, Kubel, and Young made it 3-1 with the bases still loaded. Jeter then made an outstanding lunging snare of Lamb’s hard-hit grounder, reaching to his right then flipping the ball backwards to Cano for the force at second, 4-1 but probably saved a run, which was huge in this game. Mussina then escaped with a come-backer, but not before surrendering four runs two earned on 36 pitches.

The Yanks got consecutive two-out singles from Molina and Melky, but Jeter’s impatience again resurfaced, swinging at the first pitch and grounding out to third. The Yankees sliced the lead to two in the third when Abreu led off with a triple and A-Rod singled him in. But Matsui’s 4-6-3 erased them, and Giambi banged a deep single that he poorly decided to stretch into a double and was out by 15 feet. STUPID. Mussina helped his own cause with an eight-pitch third. Excellent run manufacturing from the Yanks tied it at 4 in the fourth. Duncan worked a lead-off walk, Cano singled, Molina bunted them over, and Melky hit a single to left-center to tie the game. Excellent. Yet Melky then got picked off trying for second, and Jeter’s out ended the rally. Still, the Yankees erased the deficit fairly quickly, and Mussina’s 1-2-3 fourth made it eight straight he retired. The momentum had surely turned.

The Yanks took the lead in the top of the fifth when Abreu singled and A-Rod laced a double to center in a great, nine-pitch at-bat, 5-4 Yankees. Matsui’s single to right made it first and third and no outs, but Giambi scalded a ball up the middle that relief pitcher Brian Bass snagged between his legs, catching A-Rod understandably off third since such a hit would almost always score that run. Betemit “pinch-hit” for Duncan and fanned looking, then Cano himself was impatient and grounded out on the first pitch to end what could have been a big inning. Still, 5-4 Yanks wasn’t bad. Morneau’s two-out single in the fifth ended a string of 10 consecutive batters that Mussina retired, and he then worked a 1-2-3 sixth, impressively retiring 14 of the last 15 batters he faced. After a rough first, Moose was excellent, going six and scattering six hits and a walk, allowing four runs two earned, and fanning four on 109 pitches/73 strikes while lowering his ERA to 4.26.

The Yanks added a big insurance run in the seventh when Abreu ripped his second triple of the game, A-Rod was HBP, and Matsui’s hard-hit ground ball was too hot for the shortstop to handle, 6-4 Yanks with no outs and first and second. But rotund lefty Reyes escaped by fanning Giambi, and Betemit’s deep F9 occurred as A-Rod was running to third and he was easily doubled off second. Veras entered and promptly walked nine-hole hitter Harris, who then reached second when he wisely backed off on a DP ball to Cano, who threw to just nab the speedy Gomez at first but it allowed Harris to reach second. The smarter play for Cano would have been to get at least one by running quickly right at Harris and trying for Gomez afterwards. It mattered little after Edwar entered and retired Casilla and Mauer on fly outs. Edwar still has an ERA of 0.00 after last night’s appearance, amazing work from the kid.

Nuke then entered and surrendered his eighth homer of the year on an 0-2 letter-high fastball carelessly delivered, 6-5. Yet Nuke them settled down to retire the next three. After Giambi and Betemit stranded A-Rod after his one-out double and Matsui’s IBB, Mariano came on and shut it down. He got Lamb on a one-pitch come-backer, walked nine-hole hitter Harris, but fanned Gomez swinging and pinch-hitter Monroe looking on a picture-perfect cutter at the knees and on the outside corner. Harris really should have been the second out, since Mariano threw a perfect cutter at the knees on e3-2, but home plate up Meals must have been getting paid by the pitch counts, for he called it a ball. No matter, the Yanks peeled out of there with the first win of the series to yet again even their mark at .500, closing the first 1/3 of the year with a 27-27 record.

The bats really came alive last night. Abreu was the hitting star, going 3-4 with four runs, two triples, and a walk to up his average to .296. A-Rod and Matsui were each 3-4 with 2 RBIs apiece. A-Rod now has 19 RBIs and a .291 average, and Matsui 26 RBIs, and a league-leading .339 average. Matsui is now 17 for his last 31, raising his average 42 points in his last eight games alone. The 2-3-4 hitters were 9-12 last night with 4 runs and 4 RBIs, carrying the offense. The bottom of the order was productive as well, with Molina going 2-3 with a sac to up his average to .219, and Melky 3-4 with 2 RBIs, his 23rd of the year to raise his average to .266. Giambi and Cano added a single apiece. Of the team’s 16 hits, 12 were singles. While I love the extra-base hits, I also love the quantity of hits and the fact that they were fairly spread out. Jeter’s hand must be bothering him, for his 0-5 night makes him 3 for his last 37, lowering his average to .272. Duncan and Betemit were a combined 0-4.

Tonight, the Yankees close out May by trying to make it three straight wins, and to push themselves above the .500 mark for the first time since May 4, when the Yanks completed a sweep of Seattle to go to 17-16 on the year. New York sends staff ace CMW (6-2, 3.82 ERA) to the hill against Boof Bonser (2-6, 6.16 ERA).

Published in: on May 31, 2008 at 8:21 am  Comments (5)  


Ah, now this sure smells like championship basketball to me. Boston came back from a ten-point deficit with ten minutes to play in the game and put the clamps on Detroit, pulling away with a huge 89-81 Game Six win in Detroit to advance to the NBA Finals. The Celtics and the Lakers, the two greatest, most successful franchises in professional basketbal history meet in the NBA Finals for the 11th time, with the Celtics having an 8-2 record against LA. To me, this harks back to my teenage years, when I loved both Boston and the 76ers, and rooted hard for both of them against Los Angeles, for whom I always had tremendous respect. There was nothing like watching the Celtics clinch the Eastern Conference title and hearing the very loud, very raucous Boston Garden faithful start up the “BEAT LA! BEAT LA! BEAT LA!” chants before the final Eastern Conference final game had ended, like a public lighting of Red Auerbach’s cigar, which the legendary coach would do back in the day when smoking in public buildings was not only allowed, but encouraged. The “BEAT LA!” chants would grow to such a cacophonous cascade that it would drown out the CBS announcers. It announced the impending Finals match-up with all the sound and fury that the games themselves would bring.

The best thing of all was those classic Finals between Boston and Los Angeles never, ever disappointed, even when LA beat Boston. Those series were furious clashes between teams that held nothing back, that hammered away at each other, that relentlessly attacked each other offensively and defensively, that put absolutely everything they had into winning, that played at a breakneck pace, that provided basketball and sports fans with by far the greatest rivalry in sports in the 1980s, in my humble opinion. There was nothing like Celtics-Lakers in the 1980s. The two greatest teams loaded with talent and confidence, supported by great, loyal, and very loud fans, and putting on great basketball exhibitions time in and time out.

It’s debatable whether or not the NBA needs this matchup, since it’s a very successful and heavily marketed league despite some duds in recent Finals. Yet there is no doubt that the NBA–and a good deal of its fans–wanted this. Like the 1980s, these are the two best teams. Like the 1980s, these teams have depth. Like the 1980s, these teams have superstars and flashy players. Like the 1980s, these teams play both ends of the floor. Like the 1980s, these teams present intriguing match-ups at every position, including the coaches. This Finals will have the league, networks, and media positively salivating.

As a Celtics and basketball fan, I cannot wait until Thursday night. This is the first time since 1987 that Boston has been in the Finals, the last time Boston and LA met in the finals when LA won 4 games to 2 against a game but physically battered Boston team that lacked depth. My belief is that 2008 won’t end up as 1987 did, in no small part because Boston holds home court. Boston in 7, playing a record 27 playoff games to win its 17th title.

Does KG play against Gasol or Odom? Does Pierce guard Kobe? Whose bench will play better? How will Radmanovic and Rondo–important but supplementary players–fare in the Finals? Will Ray Allen play a more consistent series than he has in much of the playoffs thus far? Will the Celtics play at the faster tempo that they can and at which they often excel, or will the slow it down a bit and grind the Lakers down defensively since LA also loves the up-tempo game? Lots of questions to answer starting next week. Either way, Boston should be thankful that it’s getting several days to rest, given they’ve played 102 regular-season and playoff games.

This is going to be good.

Published in: on May 30, 2008 at 10:49 pm  Leave a Comment  

HDLR 5/30/08 Yankees @ Twins

Hi everyone and welcome to the Heartland Digital Living Room, where the hot dogs and beverages are always fresh, the beverages are always cold, and the chin-wagging is always lively. Tonight, the Yankees try for the millionth time to reach the .500 mark as they open a four-game set in Minnesota against the Twins. Tonight’s game represents the 1/3 mark of the season, and the Yankees have heretofore been wallowing in mediocrity. Hopefully the next 2/3 and beyond is better than the first 53 games have been for New York. Mike Mussina (7-4, 4.39 ERA) goes for his eighth win of the year tonight against (yet another) lefty Glen Perkins (2-1, 2.77 ERA). Hopefully the fact that the Yankees have improved their average against lefties (to .251, good for 8th in the AL) with both continue and pay off tonight. As per Pete Abraham, the lineups are below. Come on in, grab a cold one and a digital leather recliner, and enjoy the game. Let’s Go, Yankees! Let’s Go Celtics! [faint “Beat LA!” cheers starting in the background…]

[Edit: Joba will make his first start Tuesday against Toronto at Yankee Stadium.  More to come about that in the wrap.]

Jeter SS
Abreu RF
Rodriguez 3B
Matsui LF
Giambi DH
Duncan 1B
Cano 2B
Molina C
Cabrera CF

Gomez CF
Casilia 2B
Mauer C
Morneau 1B
Cuddyer RF
Kubel DH
Young LF
Lamb 3B
Harris 3B

Published in: on May 30, 2008 at 6:48 pm  Comments (428)  

Yankees 4 Orioles 2: Pettite Good, Offense Good Enough

Andy Pettite turned in one of his best starts lately, throwing 6 2/3 strong innings and getting strong relief from Joba and Mariano to nail down his second-straight victory as the Yanks avoided the sweep in Baltimore. Only four Yankees mustered hits, but Giambi cranked a big homer in the fourth and drove in two, while Matsui continued his hot hitting with two doubles. Melky the Clutch also hit two doubles and JD had a three-hit night with a big insurance run in the ninth. Not the prettiest offensive game, but that matters little when the pitching is strong.

The Yanks scored first when Matsui hit a bloop double over past short, moved to third on a wild pitch, and scored on Giambi’s single. But the Orioles took a 2-1 lead on Mora’s big homer to left-center. Yet the Yanks responded right away in the fourth when Giambi cranked his second homer onto Ewtah Street in two nights to tie the game. New York impressively manufactured the go-ahead run in the fifth. With one out, Melky the Clutch hit a hustle double to left-center, aggressively taking the extra base that ended up being crucial. JD singled on a bloop to center, and Jeter’s sac fly to left made it 3-2 Yankees. Pettite worked out of trouble with his trademark pick-off. After Roberts doubled with one out, he got picked off second as Pettite caught him leaning to third. This was huge, for Mora walked and Markakis doubled, surely costing Baltimore the tying run at least with shoddy base-running. Millar’s F8 ended the Orioles’ rally.

Pettite finished strong, retiring the last six batters he faced, including the first two of the seventh, before Girardi lifted him in favor of Joba. Part of it was for Joba’s stretching out, but I imagine Mora’s success against Pettite tonight also had something to do with it. Mora promptly singled to right, and Joba then walked Markakis, but fanned Millar on a 2-2 fastball to escape. After the Yankees stranded JD at third with two outs in the top of the eighth, Joba worked a 1-2-3 inning that including two impressive strikeouts of Hernandez and Payton.

New York added a big insurance run in the top of the ninth. Matsui doubled to right, Giambi walked, Cano’s 4-3 moved the runners to second and third, the Orioles then intentionally walked Moeller to get to Melky, who has hit into 5 DPs this year. Melky struck out in a ten-pitch at-bat for the second out, but JD’s grounder to first caught Orioles lefty Jaime Walker faling toward third off the mound, and JD’s sprint to first easily beat Walker to the bag to score Matsui, 4-2 Yankees. Mariano worked around A-Rod’s letting the ball go between the wickets to record his 13th save this year, the 456th of his illustrious career, and to lower his already microscopic ERA to 0.39.

Giambi has been big lately, going 2-3 with his 11th homer, 2 RBIs to give him 27 this year, and a much-improved .244 average. Giambi is 14 for his last 30, raising his average 63 points over the last week and a half. JD was 3-5 with an RBI, his 24th, raising his average to .288 with an eight-game hitting streak in which he’s 16 for his last 35 to raise his average 38 points. Matsui was 2-4 with 2 doubles and 2 runs, and is batting a hot .330. He’s a blistering 14 of his last 27 in a seven-game hitting streak that has raised his average 33 points. Melky the Clutch was 2-4 with 2 doubles and a run and, although his 0-4 night makes Jeter 3 for his last 30, his sac fly for his 25th RBI was key. The Yanks left 7 on, 4 in scoring position, but got enough production from a few sources tonight.

Pettite was strong and got better as the game went on, allowing only the two-run blast to Mora in 6 2/3. Otherwise, he scattered eight hits and a walk, allowing two runs earned and fanning three on 96 pitches/59 strikes. Lefty was the stopper tonight, just what the Yanks needed–not lights-out, but solid. Joba had a rough seventh but an easy eighth, going 28 pitches and doing the rest of his work in the bullpen instead of last night, Ahem. Mariano, still and always, is The Man.

On to Minnesota for four games after tomorrow’s day off. Friday night and Sunday afternoon will be HDLR games for anyone interested. Can the Yanks please move to and beyond .500?

Published in: on May 28, 2008 at 10:21 pm  Comments (2)  

You Stink, DeMuth

This received very brief mention from me in the wrap of last night’s wretch, but shame on crew chief Dana DeMuth for not just failing to call the game in the 9th inning as it absolutely poured, but especially for his shoddy attempt at showmanship when Girardi rightly walked onto the field to complain about play continuing. After Girardi unsuccessfully lobbied home plate umpire Doug Eddings to halt the game, he quizzically looked to second, where DeMuth was stationed, and shrugged with his hands opened facing upwards to catch the copious rainfall. DeMuth then gestured likewise in return, in seemingly sarcastic mockery of Girardi, as if it weren’t raining so hard to warrant halting the game then. What a jerk.

It’s bad enough that recent Yankees games have been infected with poor umpiring–the blown homer call that deprived the Mets of runs (that they ultimately didn’t need, but a poor, wrong, and reversed call nonetheless), the blown call on A-Rod’s homer/double, losing track of the count in the ninth inning of Saturday’s game, an amorphous and extremely generous strike zone from Eddings in the late innings last night for both teams, and more. These are all examples of umpires inserting themselves into the course of the game in poor, unprofessional ways. Amidst all this, and a spate of blown calls around baseball in recent weeks, there is really no need for an experienced umpire in DeMuth to act like such an idiot to a manager justifiably complaining about heavy rain that created clearly unsafe conditions. The White Sox played through hazardous conditions a few weeks ago that were a disgrace to the game, with standing water covering a good deal of the infield and mud the rest. This should have been first and foremost in DeMuth’s so-called mind–maintaining the quality and integrity of the game in obviously adverse conditions, rather than acting like a petty imbecile.

Published in: on May 28, 2008 at 9:56 am  Comments (2)  

Wretched in Extras

When discussing the game last night at The Sommer Frieze, regular reader Mike threw out the ominous possibility that the game could go to extra innings, which it did, with typically disastrous consequences. Why typically disastrous, you might ask? This team simply doesn’t win often in extra innings, certainly not on the road. The team has lost six seven straight extra-inning road games, with its last win coming last April 14 in Oakland, when Brian Bruney did yeoman’s work, pitching two innings and throwing 29 pitches for the win the night after going 1 1/3 on 36 pitches in an extra-inning loss. Going back to the start of the 2007 season, the Yanks are a measly 4-11 in extra-inning games, whereas in 2006 the team was 7-4 in extra-inning games.

As last night’s disgraceful debacle clearly illustrates, the blame lies with the offense at least as much as with poor pitching. The team banged out 15 hits, but stranded runners late and saw a brain fart from Jeter getting picked off second in the sixth squander another opportunity. Additionally, the team at times just stops scoring for long stretches–putting up four in the second and fourth innings, then nothing again until the eleventh despite all the hits and working 4 walks. They really should have had more in the eleventh–bases loaded and no outs–but A-Rod grounded into the ol’ 4-2-5 DP on a hard-hit ball but one right at Roberts. Unless my video feed was bad, I have a hard time blaming Jeter for getting thrown out at third simply because with the hard-hit ball right near Roberts, it may have looked like a liner to Jeter, in which case he could have been doubled off second. It was a lose-lose, but a BIG lose-lose especially when Matsui followed with an RBI single. Just as Jeter couldn’t drop a quality bunt in the ninth after Damon doubled and then struck out, A-Rod couldn’t drive the ball in the eleventh resulting in a DP.

Bad baseball, all the worse on a night when Boston, Tampa Bay, and Toronto all lost.

Published in: on May 28, 2008 at 8:34 am  Leave a Comment  

Orioles 10 Yankees 9: Pathetic Abomination

What a big, chunky, barf-bag filled game this disgusting wretch of several hours was, an absolute disgrace. Worst loss of the year, and one falling on several heads–Girardi, Hawkins, Jeter, and more. Repulsive by any sober estimation. Two four-run leads blown in the first five innings, Jeter picked off second with A-Rod ready to hit, Girardi refusing to use Joba to preserve a win that Mariano rightfully earned in favor of lummox Hawkins, who promptly yakked it up in the 11th. What is the point of having Joba around if they won’t use him for 15-20 pitches to save a key game when TB lost, Boston was nip and tuck, and Toronto was losing? The players and manger just handed Baltimore the game, just flat-out gave an eminently winnable game away. Stinking Horrible.

Giambi’s solo homer and JD’s three-run blast in the second made it a seemingly secure 4-0 lead, but with Kennedy pitching, not so. The kid immediately surrendered the lead, allowing four right back in the bottom of the second on Millar’s two-run shot, Hernandez’s solo blast, and Jones’s single, running on JD’s rag arm to tag up to second, taking third on a cross-up between Kennedy and Molina, and scoring on A-Rod’s throwing error. The Yanks then scored four more in the top of the fourth, all with two outs. JD doubled, Jeter singled him in, Abreu ripped a homer, 7-4, and A-Rod clubbed a homer to right-center, 8-4. Yet Ohlendorf, in for Kennedy who was placed almost immediately on the DL for a strained lat muscle, barfed it back up in the bottom of the fifth. Roberts singled, Mora homer, 8-6. Ohlendorf then fanned Markakis and Huff, but then surrendered back-to-back homers to Scott and Millar to tie it, 8-8. As we discussed at The Sommer Frieze, it’s really about time to consider other options than Ohlendorf. His ERA is 6.37, which is just plain bad. Mike Sommer mentioned Britton, and I can’t disagree with that. Give the guy a chance instead of letting Ohlendorf be a punching bag.

In the sixth, JD singled with one out, Jeter forced him at second, Abreu walked and, with A-Rod up and before he could get a swing, Jeter got picked off second, inexcusably horrible, Captain. Nuke worked around a lead-off walk in the eighth after some good work by Edwar, getting out of a jam via the DP ball to Cano.

The the rain came in the 9th, but the Yanks had to play through an unsafe monsoon. They subsequently squandered a lead-off double from JD, and a double-steal from him and A-Rod, when Matsui lined out to Millar. After a rain delay of over an hour, play resumed, with Mariano pitching the 9th and 10th. After a 1-2-3 9th, Mariano allowed a one-out double past the statue Betemit but Mariano avoided potential trouble when, after fanning Jones and walking Payton, he retired Roberts on an F8.

The Yankees took the lead in the 11th when, with the bases loaded and no outs, A-Rod grounded into a 4-2-5 DP, ripping one to second, and the catcher Quiroz caught Jeter at third as he waited to see if the hot shot was caught at second. Yet Matsui singled through the wickets of Albers, 9-8. Ah, but Hawkins and Girardi blew it, regardless of what the organization’s plan for Joba is. The plan is to win games, and there’s no good reason why the team couldn’t have pitched Joba for the 11th and bumped his extended outing back a few days. So much for the lack of any Joba Rules. Sure. I’d like some straight answers from the organization about this, about how Joba somehow couldn’t be used with a depleted bullpen, about how stretching him out–by any estimation a drawn-out process–couldn’t have been paused a couple days to secure a win.  Straight answers and not mealy-mouthed nonsense for a change. Hawkins entered and allowed a lead-off single to Mora, got Markakis on a deep F7, Huff’s double scored Mora to tie it and he took third, Hawkins IBB’d two to load the bases, and Cintron’s hit to deep right-center ended a disgraceful loss, 10-9.

The Yankees left 9 on base, 5 in scoring position, while plating 7 with two outs. The team had 15 hits, but couldn’t hold a lead. Kennedy heads to the DL with the strained lat, Ohlendorf and Hawkins were a mess and I’d consider removing both from the Bronx roster–Ohlendorf being sent down and Hawkins via DFA. The latter is low risk and thus far really low reward. Hawkins has an ERA of 6.75–he’s a nice guy and a good teammate, but cut bait already and go with kids. The team banged out 15 hits and 9 runs, but couldn’t win the game. Disgraceful, just an absolute gift to the Orioles. The worst loss of the year in my opinion, and back to two games under .500 as the Yankees can’t penetrate the glass ceiling of mediocrity.

Published in: on May 28, 2008 at 12:12 am  Comments (6)  

The Pistons Are A Tough Team

I watched a good deal of the Celtics-Pistons game last night and, while I could never stand the 1980s Pistons and their admixture of excellent basketball and excellent thuggery, the Pistons of the last several years are a team to respect and admire.  They’re tough, they boast a talented, balanced, and well-rounded starting five, a decent bench, and play with a lot of heart.  It remains to be seen if they’ll rue the lack of home-court in the Eastern Conference Finals.  However, this is a team that is giving Boston everything it can handle, playing ahead the whole way and ultimately pulling away in a 94-75 Game Four win.  Ailing Chauncey Billups was really impressive, playing very aggressively on both ends of the floor and with a markedly improved bounce in his step.  Rip Hamilton poured in 20, but to me the real key was the stellar play of Antonio McDyess, who put up 21 points and was a glass-eater with 16 boards, 7 on the offensive rim.  The guy scored early and often, pulling Perkins and at times Garnett away from the basket as he sank several smooth outside shots.  Rasheed Wallace was huge defensively, blocking five shots and reminding people why he’s one of the very best players in the game, whether or not he fills up a stat sheet.  Wallace is a difference-maker.

The Celtics turned the ball over five times in the first six minutes of the first quarter as the Pistons blitzed them, and they could never get out of that hole.  They cut the lead to four at halftime, but couldn’t push ahead.  More importantly, the Pistons contested every shot in the half-court set, really disrupting the Celtics’ offense and preventing them from gaining offensive flow or scoring many easy baskets.  They shot only 32% from the field, directly attributable to how well and how hard the Pistons played on defense.  Although the Celtics can fall back on having regained home court with their win Saturday night–no small accomplishment given their opponent and how important home court has been in this playoff season–The Pistons have proven a couple things against Boston: they can win in Boston, and they can bounce back with a desperate effort to outplay and out-hustle a very good defensive team in Boston.  Yesterday’s win had some important aspects, such as good, high-percentage shooting from Detroit.  But the most important ones–strong, aggressive defense, attacking the glass, challenging shots, all-out hustle–are Boston trademarks that, at least last night, were hallmarks of a crucial Pistons victory.

Three more games in the series to go, two in Boston.  Count on seeing three more tough, hotly contested games.

Published in: on May 27, 2008 at 3:32 pm  Comments (1)  

Orioles 6 Yankees 1: Rasner Deserved Better, Offense Again Dormant

Darrell Rasner was very good today, allowing only a run off a blast from Markakis, who just owns Rasner, and the offense provided Rasner no run support as the Yankees feebly dropped a 6-1 game to the Orioles. Frustratingly, the Yankees managed a mere three hits off Garrett Olson, the same pitcher they slapped around in an 8-0 win in New York last week. The Orioles blew it open with a two-out rally in the seventh when Hawkins allowed a lead-off single to Hernandez, fanned Bynum and Jones, but walked Roberts, surrendered an RBI single to Mora before exiting for Veras, who immediately gave up an RBI single to Markakis, 3-0. Aubrey Huff then cranked a homer to deep right-center, 6-0 Orioles. The homer was certainly a product of the count–2-0–and Huff had to know that Veras would come in with a fastball, which he did. Moeller averted the shutout with an RBI single to score the red-hot Matsui in the 9th, but that was it for the offense.

The Yankees’ best chance to score came in the third, when Matsui’s single brought JD toward home, but Markakis pegged him out with a sharp, one-hop throw for his eighth outfield assist to lead the majors, ending the threat and seeming to deflate the Yanks. Olson was sharp, getting the Yanks to chase his off-speed stuff that was often out of the zone. Olson walked four but struck out seven, only allowing the three hits. Rasner was no slouch himself, going six strong and allowing only five hits and a walk, a run earned, and fanning three on 98 pitches/68 strikes. He worked the corners very well without nibbling, getting ahead frequently while staying on the black. The kid suffered his first loss of the year and is 3-1, but lowered his ERA to 1.80. He was terrific and deserved better.  So did the HDLR gang–thanks to Mike, Nick, and Mike S. for stopping by.

Matsui was 3-4 to raise his average to .331, but the rest of the offense was dormant. JD had a single, but Cano, Shelley, Melky and Abreu were all 0-4 with four total strikeouts, Jeter was 0-3 with 2 K’s, and A-Rod 0-2 with 2 walks. The 1-4 hitters were 1-13 with three walks. Tomorrow night, Ian Kennedy (0-3, 7.27 ERA) looks to continue his improvement against another lefty in Brian Burres (4-4, 3.16 ERA).

Published in: on May 26, 2008 at 3:46 pm  Comments (1)  

HDLR 5/26/08: Yankees @ Orioles

Hi everyone and welcome to the Heartland Digital Living Room, where the hot dogs and chicken wings are always fresh, the beverages are always cold, and the chatter is always fast and furious.  Today, the Yankees look to extend their winning streak to six as they take on the Orioles on Memorial Day, in the first of three games in Baltimore.  Darrell Rasner (3-0, 1.89 ERA) faces lefty Garrett Olson (3-1, 5.19 ERA).  Come on in, grab a cold one and a digital leather recliner, and enjoy the game.  As per Pete Abraham, the lineups are below.  Giambi sits in favor of Shelley, and Moeller is in for Molina.

Damon LF
Jeter SS
Abreu RF
Rodriguez 3B
Matsui DH
Duncan 1B
Cano 2B
Moeller C
Cabrera CF

Roberts 2B
Mora 3B
Markakis RF
Huff DH
Scott LF
Millar 1B
Hernandez C
Jonees CF
Bynum SS

Published in: on May 26, 2008 at 12:18 pm  Comments (226)