Five Solo Homers Propel Yanks to 6-5 Comeback Win

The New Yankee Stadium has become a launching pad for home runs, with 9 hit in the first two official games and 17 including the two exhibition games against the Cubs.  Thankfully, the Yanks hit 5 today–though all solo homers–to carry the team to a comeback, 6-5 victory against Cleveland.  Jeter the Clutch broke a 5-5 tie in the bottom of the eighth for the game-winning run, and Mariano worked around a pair of hits in the ninth to earn his 3rd save of the year and 485th of his amazing career.  Joba wasn’t very good, in fact throwing more balls than strikes, but the bullpen picked him up by allowing only three hits and no walks in the last 4 1/3, fanning five.  Bruney was against great, striking out two and earning the win.

DeRosa got the Indians on the board quickly with a solo homer in the top of the first.  But after Martinez, Hafner grounded into a DP to minimize the damage.  Joba then worked around a one-out walk to Choo in the second and, after a poor lead-off walk to Cabrera in the third, again was bailed out by a hard-hit DP ball off Sizemore’s bat.

With two outs in the bottom of the third, JD took a belt-high 3-1 fastball left over the plate deep to right center to tie the game at one.  Teixeira immediately followed with a long homer to right, off the side of the middle level, to briefly give the Yanks the lead.  While JD’s homer barely made it out, Teixeria’s blast was a no-doubt shot. Yet Joba dug himself into another hole in the fourth that cost New York the lead, walking Hafner and Choo before Francisco’s single tied the game.  Melky broke the tie with a solo homer to, where else, right field to briefly give the Yanks a 3-2 lead, but again Joba coughed it up.  He was already at 75 pitches through four, and was forced out in the fifth when he walked singles hitter Cabrera on four pitches.  Consecutive singles from Sizemore and DeRosa tied the game, and a wild pitch from Joba moved the runners to second and third.  A sac fly to left from Martinez put Cleveland ahead 4-3, moving DeRosa to third and, after Hafner popped out, Garko’s double made it 5-3.  Coke entered and got out Choo, but Joba had been worked over–4 2/3 IP, 6 hits, 5 runs earned, 5 walks, and 4 K’s on 93 pitches/46 strikes.

It was a poor outing, but one from which Joba can learn and, with the win, one that’s easier to describe as the learning experience that it is.  Joba is 23, is still learning to use all his pitches, is still struggling at times with his form and command–is essentially still learning to pitch, just as Kennedy and Hughes were last year, though Joba’s stuff is better.  It wasn’t fun to watch, and it was the second straight game that a Yankee starter walked five.  But we need to be patient with Joba–and hopefully eschew calls to move him to the bullpen.

As with yesterday’s game, it hurt that the Yanks continued to strand runners.  Everything was off solo homers, and later an error–without one hit with RISP.  The Yanks were a woeful 0-9 with RISP, leaving 9 on base, including the bases loaded in the fifth.  I had to get my son from school then run an errand, keeping me from getting back to the game until the bottom of the eighth, but Cano cut the lead to 5-4 with a solo homer in the sixth. Mike F. (please read his very good Baseline) was good enough to text me that Cano had homered, and we shared some optimism.  The comeback is coming! I sent him, and I’m glad he and I were on the same page regarding their chances, despite the difficulty in plating runners. Ransom then hit a one-out single, moved to second on Gardner’s 6-3, but Jeter struck out to end the sixth.

The Yanks were primed to take the lead in the seventh but failed to hit in the clutch. JD walked and scored from first when Teixeira’s comebacker to the mound was thrown into right field.  But Swish struck out looking, Jorge walked, Cano lined out to Sizemore, and Melky popped out to short.  After Bruney dominated the eighth by fanning two on just 11 pitches, I got in just in time to turn on the game and see Jeter belted the homer off Jensen Lewis, a 3-1 fastball belt-high and away, to give the Yanks the lead and eventual win.  Mariano allowed one-out singles to Graffanino and Cabrera, but fanned Sizemore and got DeRosa looking to end the game, throwing 19 pitches for his 3rd save this year and 485th career save.  Huge comeback win.

I’m still very concerned about the Yanks’ inability to hit in the clutch, for they’re down to .216 with RISP and are stranding an alarming number of runners–24 in the two games of the series thus far.  But the power display made up for a lot–though it won’t always do so.  JD’s 2-3 day moved him up to .286, scoring twice.  Teixeira’s homer was the most impressive of the lot, a big blast to right that I could get used to seeing more frequently.  Brett the Jet had a hit, a stolen base, and made an important, impressive running catch to rob Francisco of probably two in the top of the ninth.  The Jet patrols center field quite well and, with the two subsequent hits, Gardner’s play was key.  Melky’s homer was a laser, and he’s been pretty good, hitting .286 in limited duty that may change with Nady’s injury.  Cano’s homer was his third, with 8 RBIs, and he’s batting .405.  Jeter again came through with a clutch hit, this third homer of the year and 209th of his career, batting .283 now. Ransom was 1-3 with one of the three non-homers New York had today.  That the Yanks worked 6 walks is also a good sign, but the lack of clutch hitting really needs to change now.

Joba simply cannot afford to issue walks, especially lead-off walks, to batters such as Cabrera.  But he’ll learn–in the rotation–and be fine.  His stuff is too good and he works too hard for things not to work out.  Coke was big, allowing just a hit in 1 1/3 to shut the door.  Albaladejo was impressive in his inning, and Bruney, next to Mariano, is the most trustworthy guy in the pen.  Mariano wasn’t at his sharpest, but no worries.  He shrugged off two hits to fan two good hitters in Sizemore and DeRosa to end the game.

In a battle of sinker-ballers, Wang (0-2, 28.93) looks for his first start above the level of raunchy against Carmona (0-2, 9.00 ERA), and hopefully the Yanks won’t defibrillate his floundering start as they did Lee’s yesterday.  Hopefully also the Yankees get a better crowd in the largely quiet, empty, and grossly overpriced lower bowl.  I know times are hard, but the entire Stadium is filled, with others in standing room, while the class-built lower section around home sits mostly empty.  It’s an embarrassment, and the Yanks need to change the ticket prices to get people actually there and making some noise.  When Cano and even Jeter hit the homers late in the game, it wasn’t exactly loud for Yankee Stadium, and that’s a damn shame.  It’s Yankee Stadium, not a museum.

Published in: on April 17, 2009 at 8:13 pm  Comments (4)  

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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. great recap for a fun game–

    they had some pics up today at bronx banter- the “Imperial Boxes” are indeed quite desolate. why can’t they give those seats out every day to kids from all over the city. of course i know the answer to that. they don’t want to ruffle the feathers ofn the rich folks who paid the insane prices. and i will agree that sitting by a bunch of kids is extremely annoying. it happened to me once. AWFUL.

    but there could be some program for bringing in needy families, or maybe have a group of firemen one day or cops or sanitation workers. or maybe even a bunch of the top earners for the AIDS walk-stuff like that. the seats MUST be filled and it would be nice if they were filled by someone who knows the difference between a DH and Hd TV

  2. The RISP situation is eerily similar to last season, which doesn’t bode well. But once A-Rod’s back and Ransom’s out, maybe things will improve on that front. Having Matsui clogging up the DH spot is also a problem. His knees are just shot. On a brighter note, let’s hope the Good Wang shows up today!

  3. Huge comeback win indeed, especially after the horrible opener.. Though all long shots yesterday were solos, it was good enough, and was exactly what I’ve missed seeing the Yanks do..
    The Yanks are stranding a lot.. but I think last year’s trashy performance with runners in scoring position day in and day out has made me nearly immune from being pissed off at them when they don’t deliver this season.. I think it’ll pick up when A-Rod returns, and the lineup looks more like a Yankee lineup.. Also, now with the festivities and everything out of the way, I’m sure the boys realize it’s a season now.. time to go out and win every day.
    p.s. I agree about the seats, definitely a huge embarrassment. What I’m more embarrassed about though is the fact that those seats are something straight out of someone’s living room.. As I said in my recent post, a ballpark isn’t a movie theater or an opera house.. I think it just cheapens the game..

  4. p.p.s. I think you should sign yourself up for twitter J and join the addiction, lol..

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