Yankees 5 Jays 1: Jeter Makes History; Mussina Strong Again; JD and Matsui Stay Hot

Thankfully my computer sorted out some of its hiccups and finally allowed me to download and watch tonight’s game. (On the downside, I mysteriously lost my saved Favorites, so I’ll need to go back and re-save certain websites and passwords soon.) Jeter’s RBI single in the third moved him past the great Mickey Mantle for third on the all-time Yankee hit list with 2,416. Mussina was excellent tonight, earning his 9th win of the year. The offense was good and productive, working over Jays’ starter Jesse Litsch in dealing him only his second defeat of the year. Not to be overlooked, the bullpen worked three shutout innings, with the single off Ohlendorf the only blemish.

Mussina escaped first-inning trouble after consecutive singles from Scutaro and Rios made it first and third with one out. Mussina got Rolen to ground into a 4-6-3 DP to end the frame. The Yanks finally got on the board and broke the shutout in the third when Molina singled, Melky flew out to center, JD’s crisp single with Molina running moved Molina to third (good to see Girardi putting the runners in motion more, and even better to see the batters delivering), and Jeter’s historic single scored Molina, 1-0 Yanks. How fitting it was that Jeter’s hit to move him into third on the all-time Yankees list went to right. It was a nice moment, when the typically understated Jeter stoically stood at first as the crowd gave him a standing ovation, then quickly doffed his batting helmet in appreciation of the loud crowd appreciation. A nice touch was watching how first baseman Lyle Overbay treated the situation, standing near Jeter with his hands clasped behind his back, staring off with a smile on his face. Jeter received congratulations from Overbay, tapping him on the back and thanking Overbay, who nodded and smiled as the crowd acknowledged the Captain. Terrific respect from Overbay, a pro’s pro in addition to being a very slick glove at first. Abreu was robbed of a hit by Mike’s boy Eckstein, who started a DP to end the rally, but the moment and inning were squarely Jeter’s.

The Yanks increased the lead with two two-out runs in the fourth when Betemit ripped his second homer to right, yanking a 1-2 hanging slider inside several rows deep into the right-field stands, 2-0 Yanks. Cano then doubled to right, Molina walked, and Melky scored Cano with a single through the hole into right, 3-0 Yanks. Mussina’s only blemish was in his last inning, when Rolen hung back on a 2-2 curve and cranked a two-out RBI double to left-center, 3-1 Yanks. But Mussina was terrific, allowing only 5 hits, a run earned, a walk while fanning 6 on 103 pitches/67 strikes. Yet another very good start from Jimmy and J-Boogie’s boy Mussina, who upped his record to 9-4 and lowered his ERA to 4.01. He was efficient, literally scattered hits by getting several outs in a row several times, and worked around hits. His control has been excellent, allowing only his 11th walk this year in 67 1/3 IP. He gave the Yanks exactly what they needed tonight. Not to be overlooked, he’s also up to 2,702 K’s for his excellent career, and has a career mark of 259-148–111 more wins than losses. I think Mussina is increasingly Hall-of-Fame worthy, well worth considering and not just because of his very good stats but his very good stats in the steroids era, to which he’s never been attached.

The Yanks added on well, scoring a run in the sixth from Molina’s double, Melky’s 5-3, and JD’s single, 4-1 Yanks. They made it 5-1 in the seventh with Abreu’s lead-off walk, A-Rod’s 6-3 moving him to second, and Matsui’s RBI single to center. Ohlendorf only allowed a hit in the top of the seventh, Nuke worked a 1-2-3 eighth that ended impressively with his K of Rios on heavy gas, and Mariano shut it down in the ninth on two K’s looking and a ground out, not a save situation but still impressive in a necessary win.

JD is red hot, going 3-4 tonight with his 27th RBI and hitting 27-57 (.474, C’MON!) with 7 runs, 9 RBIs, and 7 XBH since May 20 to raise his average from .250 to .310; very impressive, and I agree with Mike Sommer–Tough Love. Expect more to come (Ahem, Cano). Jeter is 8 for his last 17 (.471), now hitting .282 after going 1-4 with his 27th RBI on his historic night. Matsui’s 2-3 night raised his average back up to .337. He’s 22 for his last 50 (.440), and he contributed his 28th RBI. Molina was 2-3 with a double and, miracle of miracles, his third BB of the year. I checked for frogs falling from the sky when this occurred. Betemit’s bomb was big, extending the lead early in the game. A-Rod and Tough Love poster boy Cano added doubles, and Melky the Clutch’s RBI single gives him 26 RBIs, not bad. Abreu needs to heat up again, since he’s 0 for his last 14 and his average has dropped to .281.

Nice win, especially since they jumped all over Litsch with 10 hits and 2 BB’s in 5 1/3IP. Dustin McGowan (4-4, 3.95 ERA) presents a different challenge tomorrow, a young hard-throwing righty with lots of movement–to say nothing of those imposing mutton-chop sideburns. Wang (6-2, 4.14 ERA) goes tomorrow, looking to right his ship after three poor starts in which he’s gone 19 1/3 and allowed 22 hits, 17 runs earned (7.92 ERA), and walked 10–Holy Turds, Batman! I still say the advantage goes to the Yanks’ ace to take the series and even the Yanks’ record–yet again–at .500 before facing the Royals at The Stadium starting Friday, an HDLR game for anyone interested.

Published in: on June 4, 2008 at 11:36 pm  Comments (2)  

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  1. Hey, Jason!

    Mike Mussina continues to impress !!!

    I can see him with 13 wins by the all-star break; and, as the starting pitcher for the AL team …

    That will be a great sight … Mike Mussina on the mound, at Yankee Stadium, starting for the America League !!!


    Also, Congratulations to Derek Jeter !!!

    Everytime a Yankee breaks a record, we see all these great Yankee legends from the past on the leaders list … It really makes me proud to be a Yankees fan when seeing all these great “all-star” names … This is the great “Yankee Tradition”, and as fans, we are all part of this great tradition”!!!

    All-Time Yankee Hit Leaders …

    1. Lou Gehrig 2,721 .340
    2. Babe Ruth 2,518 .342
    3. Derek Jeter 2,416 .316
    4. Mickey Mantle 2,415 .298

    note: The one great regret by Mantle, was that he did not finish with a .300 batting average. The last few years that he played really hurt his average.

    And, just think, Derek Jeter will be he first Yankee to reach the 3,000 hit mark … If he plays long enough, I think he has a great chance to get 4,000 hits … At any rate, in my view, Jeter will finish his career with at least 3,700 hits !!!

    Great post, as usual, Jason …

    Take care !

    – Jimmy [27NYY]


  2. Amazing. After that awful start, Mussina is still piling up the wins. Guess Hank’s praise of the rotation (with no mention of Mussina) earlier in the year was all the inspiration Moose needed. The guy’s been a horse from Day 1. I just realized he doesn’t have a ring after all those great seasons.

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