Yankees 5 Tigers 2: Rasner Excellent; Offense Shaping Up

Terrific win for the Yankees today, finally beating Detroit 5-2 behind Darrell Rasner’s great start, good work by the bullpen, and some good clutch hitting from various members of the lineup, some long overdue. Jeter hit his first homer of the season in the top of the first, he and Abreu had two hits, and Giambi, Cano, and Betemit are warming up and contributing. Thanks to J-Boogie from Baseball & The Boogie-Down for bringing back the W, since he was at the game in Detroit.

It’s hard to overestimate what Rasner has done for the Yankees his last two starts. He’s thrown a ton of strikes (61 on 87 pitches today), kept the hits and runs low and, as important as anything, has allowed only one walk in two starts this season. He’s been efficient and in the strike zone without getting plastered like Igawa, who threw a lot of strikes for batting practice last night. He’s given the Yankees a solid back-of-the-rotation man thus far and for the foreseeable future.

The Yankees jumped on Bonderman right away just like last week but, unlike last week, added on well enough to win. Jeter’s solo shot to right, his first homer of 2008, made it 1-0. Abreu and Matsui singled, Giambi walked to load the bases, and Melky the Clutch worked a great eight-pitch walk to bring in Abreu, 2-0. But Cano scalded the ball into a double play, disappointing but at least he’s back to lacing the ball. Plus, they made Bonderman throw 30 pitches right away. Rasner allowed a one-out homer to Matthew Joyce, his first career homer to right-center on a ball that Abreu (and John Sterling) lost in the sun, making it look like a deep fly that was actually well gone. Yet Rasner was otherwise good, getting through the first on only 12 pitches. Bonderman and Rasner each worked a 1-2-3 second. In the third, Rasner avoided trouble when Pudge singled to lead off, was bunted to second, but got Granderson on a come-backer and Joyce to pop to Cano.

The Yanks worked a two-out rally in the fourth, with Cano drawing a walk and Betemit belting a 2-2 fastball to center to score Cano, 3-1 Yankees. Yet Betemit fit in with the Yanks’ hard-luck beginning, coming up lame as he approached second, grabbing his hamstring. It seems the DL is in his future, just as he put together a couple good games at the plate. A wild pitch to Moeller moved Ensberg pinch-running to third, Moeller walked on four pitches, but JD stranded them by grounding back to Bonderman. Importantly, Rasner held the line and increased lead with a 1-2-3 inning. The Yanks rewarded him with two more in the fifth. Jeter singled and, on a hit-and-run, Abreu took the ball up the other way for a double to left. Jeter scored on Joyce’s slipping as he fielded the ball, with good aggressiveness by both Jeter and third-base coach Meacham. Lefty Bobby Seay entered for Bonderman and got Matsui to pop out, but Giambi ripped a double into the right-field corner to score Abreu, 5-1. Melky flew out to center, and Cano singled but Giambi was caught trying to go home [Edit: although he was held up by Meacham] and tagged out by Guillen returning to third [Edit: Horrible base-running by Giambi, and a sign of disrespect to Meacham, intended or not]. Rasner allowed a lead-off walk to Sheffield the Selfish, but Jeter made a great diving catch on Renteria’s line drive on a hit-and-run, doubling off Sheffield. Rasner then got Pudge on an easy liner to Jeter for a 1-2-3 the hard way.

After worked around a two-out single in the sixth, he allowed a lead-off single in the seventh to Ordonez, prompting Girardi to pull him in favor of Cool Hand Nuke, who risked veering back to his pernicious alter ego Nuke LaFarnsworth. He promptly surrendered a sharp single to Cabrera and an RBI double to Sheffield the Would-Be Slanderer, making it second and third, no outs, and the tying run in Renteria coming to the plate in easily the biggest moment of the game. But Cool Hand Nuke re-emerged and thankfully cooled things off, getting Renteria to pop to Cano, fanning Pudge on a 3-2 fastball, and getting pinch-hitter Polanco to pop to short to end the threat and, effectively the game. While I think Sterling somewhat exaggerated his performance by calling it a “great, great job,” credit Nuke for doing a great job escaping a mess of his own doing, and sparing Girardi a healthy spate of second-guessing for removing a sharp and efficient Rasner. He buckled down well, something he hasn’t done much with the Yankees. Joba was 1-2-3 in the eighth and, though allowing a lead-off, first-pitch single to Ordonez, Mariano got Cabrera on a 6-4-3 DP, and Sheffield the Slob on an easy 4-3, ending the game and earning his tenth save of the year and 453rd of his brilliant career.

Rasner was tremendous, going 6+ and allowing only 4 hits, 2 runs earned, a walk, and a K on 87 pitches/61 strikes. Though surrendering the two hits, Nuke combined with Joba and Mariano for three scoreless innings of three-hit ball with 2 K’s. Again, the bullpen was solid and pretty dominant. I can get used to that. Giambi was 1-3 with an RBI double, his 20th RBI, to raise his average to a still-low but improved .183. Cano was also 1-3, hitting an also-improved .185. Jeter was 2-5 with his first homer, his 18th RBI, 2 runs, and is batting .308. The two are warming up, suffice to say. Abreu was 2-4, and also with 2 runs and an RBI, his 23rd, to bat a solid .303. Damon (.282) and Matsui (.331) added singles, Melky (.270) had an RBI walk in the first, his 18th RBI, and Betemit has been fairly good at the plate the last couple games with his RBI double today before his (presumably) hamstring injury. I hope this means the Yanks being up Gonzo, since they seem to have little faith in Ensberg’s bat. Let the kid play until A-Rod returns, Girardi.

Pettite (3-3, 3.77 ERA) seeks the series win for the Yankees tomorrow afternoon, and to push the team back above .500, versus Nate The Stiff Robertson (1-4, 6.64 ERA) at 1:05 EDT in the HDLR. Come on in and have a blast tomorrow afternoon. Big win today, bringing the Yankees back to .500.

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Published in: on May 10, 2008 at 6:34 pm  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Now I know Igawa was bad, awful, terrible, horrendous, and any other synonym you can possibly think of to describe downright disgusting in that start he had Friday night…but you have to wonder- would he have faired any better with Gonzalez playing third instead of Betemit? Now Betemit is injured and the more defensive Gonzalez is back up, but it’s too late to find out. Just something worth thinking about, not that I think Igawa deserves another shot by any means. Personally, I want Kennedy back ASAP.

  2. With Rasner looking good, only Igawa’s spot in the rotation is a question mark. If they get it figured out, we are on our way!

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