Joba Outstanding, Yanks Walk to 5-2 Win

Joba was nothing short of tremendous, pitching eight excellent innings and providing some tremendous defensive work in the field to support his cause as the Yanks walked and wore down Cleveland 5-2.  The Yanks didn’t hit so well in the clutch, but their patience was crucial in loading the bases, wearing down Cleveland’s pitching, and working the odds continually in their favor with base runners.  Yet everything came together because of Joba’s outstanding effort, which at least for a day should stem the superfluous and non-debatable stories about whether or not Joba should be in the bullpen.  Jeez, already. More importantly, the Yanks set the major-league record for the most consecutive errorless games at 18, supporting very good pitching with very good defense.

The Yanks blew a lot of chances before cinching the win, starting in the first with the Yanks had first and second with one out but failed to score.  Thankfully, Joba was perfect through the first 3 2/3 IP, working fast and efficiently, throwing strikes, and throwing his off-speed stuff for K pitches.  In the third, Brett the Jet worked a nine-pitch walk, stole second, and went to third on The Captain’s nicely considered bunt single to third.  Swish grounded into a 5-4-3 DP that to me looked like Garko came off the bag on the throw, but regardless the Yanks took a 1-0 lead.  Cleveland tied it in the fourth when Martinez belted a homer off a 2-1 fastball over the inside corner, breaking up the perfect game and shutout, 1-1.  Choo then singled and stole second, and Peralta walked, but Joba settled down and fanned DeRosa on three pitches looking, including two nasty sliders not for bait but for strikes, to escape the jam.

Joba then worked out of a big jam in the bottom of the fifth.  Garko walked and the second baseman Carroll singled to right.  But Joba dove to his right, fully extended, to catch Shoppach’s popped-up bunt.  Then, at Jorge’s urgent behest, Joba stopped proving that he caught the ball to the third-base umpire Jeff Nelson and threw to second, where Jeter stood patiently waiting, to double off a far-flung Garko. outstanding play by Joba, showing good quickness and athleticism off the mound and, with some prompting, the awareness to nab Garko. Heck of a belly-flop, but surely effective. Carroll was then caught stealing on a 1-1 pitchout, a great throw by Jorge, to fully erase what had been a good threat from Cleveland.

The Yanks then blew their own choice threat in the top of the sixth, with Cleveland starter Sowers walking the bases loaded on a mere 13 pitches with no outs.  But the hard-throwing righty Aquino entered and caught A-Rod looking on a high change, a mistake pitch really, Jorge then nubbed the first pitch back to Aquino for a force at home that, with a throw not so far-flung in the third-base side to Shoppach, would have also had Jorge at first, and Cano lined the first pitch deep to left for the third out.  At this point, I felt a bit uneasy about the Yanks’ chances, but Joba worked a 1-2-3 sixth.

The Yanks blew it open in the seventh, working five walks in the frame and scoring four runs.  Matsui pinch-hit for Berroa with one out and walked, Brett the Jet and Jeter walked to load the bases, and Swish lined a 2-1 belt-high fastball to deep left off the wall, scoring Pena (pinch running for Matsui) and The Jet in very quick succession, 3-1 Yanks.  Teixeira walked intentionally, Vizcaino the erstwhile Yank then coughed up an RBI single off Cabrera’s glove into left, 5-1, but Teixeira was caught way too far off second and nabbed for the second out.  After Jorge’s walk, Cano flew out again to left.  Joba allowed an RBI 6-3 in the bottom of the seventh, but worked an eleven-pitch eighth to close his great start–8 IP, 4 hits, 2 runs earned, 2 BB, 5 K on 106 pitches/66 strikes.  Anyone who continues to think Joba is better suited for the bullpen, after he grew stronger and hit 97-98 on the gun in later innings, after he continually threw great off-speed stuff for strikes and K’s, after he went eight and was his own bridge to Mariano, should watch this start again, seriously. Mariano worked a perfect ninth for his 11th save and 493rd of his tremendous career.

The top of the order, getting all six hits, working 6 of the team’s 11 walks, and cinching the victory.  Swish was 2-4 with 2 doubles and 2 RBIs, giving him 31 and batting .236.  A-Rod’s 2 RBIs give him 19 thus far, batting .259.  Jeter was 2-3, extending his hitting streak to 15 and batting .311.  Though the team was only 3-16 with RISP, stranding 9, they did enough with excellent pitching and what opportunities afforded them.

I love the chemistry of this team, with pitchers like Pettite and CC warmly shaking Joba’s ahnd after his excellent eight without getting overly excited–a sure sign that, while embracing Joba, more is expected of him than a very good start.  Another funny moment was when Sabathia got up to presumably go to the dugout, then sprayed his handful of sunflower seeds all over JD.  The team isn’t just rolling, it appears tightly knit and invested in each other.

The Yanks are now 30-21, winning 15 of their last 19, five of their last seven on the road, and returning home to face Texas for 3 and TB for 4 at The Stadium.

Published in: on June 1, 2009 at 11:06 pm  Comments (5)  

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5 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I recorded the game and watched it after dinner etc

    SUCH a fun one…Joba was a pleasure to watch- him going all out on that dive-loved it. fuck mike francessa –he was throwing gas and getting K’s on breaking stuff. I’m heading to the stadium for my first time today–so excited. ful report later. hope all is well with you jas..

  2. oh–and also i loved that great play that mariano made to get the last out…

    the games the last month have been incredibly fun to watch—

  3. Too bad I miss you by a few days, Mike. I’m headed there on Sunday.

  4. Great game. However, the Joba to the bullpen song and dance routine is really starting to irk me. STARTING PITCHING IS THE FOUNDATION OF CHAMPIONSHIP TEAMS!

    What don’t the ass monkeys in the media get about that fact? I am so sick of their BRAINWASHING SIREN SONG! TEH EIGTH INNING! A TEAM WITHOUT AN EIGTH INNING GUY CAN’T WIN! AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

    Even more irritating is that they are led by the King Kong of the ass monkeys, Mike Francesa. I SWEAR WITH GOD AS MY WITNESS THAT I WILL CALL THAT SHOW AND TEAR HIS SOUL OUT IF HE CONTINUES HIS IDIOICY!

    I apologize for the caps. I was feeling very passionate.


  5. All has been well though busy, Mike. Thanks for asking. Joba’s full-body extension with the throw to second was brilliant. I also loved Mariano’s reactions in the ninth, but since I hunkered down with my son for bedtime with some laughs, I missed the final out. I’ll need to review that. No question, the games the last month have been tremendous, making Yankees baseball a lot of fun again.

    I hope both Mikes enjoy your respective trips to the Stadium.

    Wiz, you’re nothing if not passionate. No need to apologize about the caps. We’re in total agreement on Joba as a starter. He especially, but good starters in general, are more valuable than eighth-inning guys, period. Joba’s masterful performance yesterday was yet another example of how good he is and can be. I’m thankful to be out of Francesca’s listenership, and just don’t seek him out via the Internet.

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