Game 80: Jays @ Yankees, 7/4/09

As per Pete Abraham, below are today’s starting lineups.  I texted Frank the Sage saying that I have a good feeling about today’s game, which may entail working up Halliday’s pitch count.  We’ll see.  I’ll keep tabs in game today.  Enjoy the game, and Happy 4th of July.

YANKEES (46-33)
Jeter SS
Damon LF
Teixeira 1B
Rodriguez 3B
Cano 2B
Posada C
Matsui DH
Cabrera RF
Gardner CF

Pitching: RHP Chien-Ming Wang (1-6, 10.06).

BLUE JAYS (42-39)
Scutaro SS
Hill 2B
Lind DH
Rolen 3B
Overbay 1B
Wells CF
Rios RF
Dellucci LF
Barajas C

Pitching: RHP Roy Halladay (10-2, 2.56).

Top 1: Wang worked around a one-out single to get Lind on a 4-6-3, just 12 pitches needed for Wang.

Bottom 1: Jeter caught looking on a 2-2 fastball at the knees, tailing back over the inside corner, beautiful pitch, reminiscent of what Mariano does to fool batters looking on the right-handed batters box side.  JD worked a walk by patiently laying off the inside pitches.  Teixeira is showing good patience, ahead 2-0, now 3-0 with pitches tailing inside and the Yanks, thus far with a good read on them.  Halliday doesn’t budge much, painting the inside corner for 3-1, nasty cutter down and in swung at and missed, 3-2 before a 4-3 with JD running put him at second for the second out, A-Rod coming to bat.  A-Rod delivers!  Big base hit through the hole in right and, despite a great, one-hop throw to the plate by Rios, JD just beat the Barajas tag with a quick slide, 1-0 Yanks.  Cano got jammed for a 3U, but the Yanks are ahead 1-0.  It will be interesting to see if this chess match–and that’s just what it is when teams face a great pitcher in Halliday–sees the Yanks force Halliday to adjust from busting batters inside by laying off (as JD did and Cano didn’t), if Halliday sticks with that strategy, or if Halliday himself mixes the pitches up.

Top 2: Wang is hitting spots, painting the outside corner twice straight against Overbay, 0-2, then 3-2 before losing him.  The sinker has a lot of movement today which, as we’ve seen and need to understand with him, can be a good and bad thing.  Wells hit a bloop, excuse-me ground-rule double to right, second and third, one out facing Rios.  Wang needs to shake that off, it just wasn’t his fault.  Yet Rios singled up the middle to score two, 2-1 Jays.  That wasn’t a bad pitch, at the knees and over the outside corner.  Then a DP ends the second.  This would be a good time for Posada to urge Wang to shrug it off, to rightly encourage Wang that he has gotten two DPs and, although Rios delivered off him, it wasn’t a bad pitch and followed a cheap Wells double.  The problem is the Yanks are facing Halliday, but if Wang can keep it here, the Yanks can deliver off Halliday if they’re patient.  Plus, I’m convinced that today has that feeling–that Halliday will likely be very good but is not invincible.  The run in the first attests to that.

Bottom 2:  Posada-Halliday was a good battle of wills, with Posada astutely laying off the inside pitches and forcing Halliday to be over the plate, but not driving a good 2-1 pitch quite far enough to medium right, one out.  Then Matsui hit a good fastball, low and dipping at the knees, and creamed it to deep right center to tie the game with his 12th homer of the year and 124th of his terrific career with the Yanks!  Melky grounded out on the first pitch, and Brett the Jet failed to lay off the slider tailing low and in–something Halliday assuredly considered before he threw it–to fan for the last out.  But the Yanks tie it at two and, the question is, can Wang hold it here on a day when the great Halliday has surrendered a run in each of the first two innings?

Top 3: Wang gets a 5-3, nicely done A-Rod, on Barajas for the first out.  1-2 to Scutaro as Wang is looking strong, and Melky makes a nice shoestring catch, two down.  Excellent catch, Melky! Wang made Hill look bad with a first pitch up, tailing in as Hill looked off it the whole time, and he then steered Hill into a manageable 6-3 for the third out, having thrown only 34 pitches through the first three and looking, dare I say, formidable like the Wang of recent past.

Bottom 3: I started the inning by haranguing Jeter via the computer, C’Mon Jeter, don’t get caught looking.  You’re too good of a bat for that, regardless of what you thought of the pitch. And he put his bat onto the next one hard but Wells made a good running and jumping catch in deep center, near the wall for the first out.  JD worked a five-pitch walk, really taking a very good approach to and recognizing Halliday.  It’s as if JD sees what’s coming.  Teixeira was way out in front of that, 0-1.  The guys in the YES booth are chomping as Teixeira singled on a cutter up, handling it to send JD to third, runners at the corners for A-Rod, who has the chance to deliver for the second straight time.  He doesn’t, popping out in foul territory to Overbay for the second out.  Cano needs a hit but grounds into a 6-4 force.  Yanks fail to deliver on a good chance, 1-4 with RISP, stranding three.  That won’t cut it against Halliday, who is at 49 pitches through three.  Cano is barely .200 with RISP, atrocious.

Top 4: Wang fanned Lind, but Rolen ripped one over Melky in right center, Melky’s strong throw into second making it close at second.  1-4-3 sent Rolen to third, and Wells popped into a soft F8, keeping it at 2, Wang at 44 pitches and more than holding his own against Halliday, who has been vulnerable.  Wang has been more efficient, has more ground ball outs in 7, and has looked more in control than he has in a long time.

Bottom 4:  Boy, did Jorge win that chess match?!? Halliday layed off two straight inside pitches, then creamed a hanging change to deep right for his 11th homer of the year, and 232nd of his great career, 3-2 Yanks!  Matsui lined out, and Melky, if you could recognize that you should foul off the 1-2 to stay alive–why swing in the first place?  Two down. The Jet down on a grounder, but 3-2 Yanks against Halliday is a very good sign.

Top 5:  Wang made Rios look bad on a 1-1 slider swinging, and after a difference of opinion between sinker and slider (according to Cone, likely right), Wang got Rios on a 3-2 6-3, then got Dellucci on a  3-1 for the second out.  Wang is rolling in no uncertain terms.  He is dealing, getting Barajas on a two-hop 6-3.  He is at 55 pitches through five, and has forced 10 ground-ball outs–outdueling Halliday through Wang’s first five.  I’m totally impressed, but felt it from this morning when I woke up.  I felt this would be a game, just not quite predicting that Wang would be this good and old school Wang. Add on, guys.

Bottom 5: Jeter lines out with a deep F9, one out.  JD has been good thus far on Halliday, who evens the count at 1-1. After an out, Teixeira ripped a fastball for a single to right.  A-Rod delivered for an RBI his first time up, but popped out last at-bat.  This time?  A-Rod’s patience works the count to 3-2, walked him, to face Cano?  He’s been so poor with RISP, Cano needs a mistake right now against a guy who so rarely makes them.  It doesn’t happen, as Cano chops at a rising first pitch, weakly tapping to second for the third out.  He is 0 for his last 18 with RISP.  The onus is back on Wang, who has been nothing but strong, to keep things as they are and preserve the lead.  I felt this morning that it could well be 3-2 either way through six and, after five, it’s 3-2 Yanks.  I’ll take it.

Top 6:  Scutaro ripped a lead-off double into the corner on a pitch up, big challenge to Wang here.  Hill up  and the 0-1 pitch looked good, but Wang didn’t get the call.  Hill golfs weakly at a low sinker 1-2, the 1-2 looked very good but not called for Wang 2-2, now 3-2 to Hill, and Wang won that as Hill failed to advance Scutaro on a two-hop 6-3, one out.  Lind up and Wang left that pitch belt-high and over the plate, and Lind tattooed it to deep right center, 4-3 Jays.  Wang bad a bad pitch on that, one of very few bad pitches he’s made.  Suddenly after a 1-0 pitch to Rolen, Girardi and Donahue trot out to the mound and yank Wang after a good start but tough finish, 4-3 Jays in the sixth, giving Halliday a long rest.  Robertson and the Yanks must hold it here; will this give Halliday a blow, or let some rust settle in?

Regarding Wang, that whole exit was hasty and, quite franky, rather strange, as if Girardihad just had it with Wang, or Wang had just had it.  Robertson at 2-2 to Rolen, and Kay is commenting about how quiet the crowd got.  It’s true, but this can be temporary, Michael.  Robertson walked Rolen on a 3-2 pitch inside.  He then got to 3-2 and walked Overbay, still one out.  First pitch straight change to Wells looked good but was called a ball, strike on outside corner 1-1, foul 1-2, then froze him with a fastball over the insider corner, K two outs for the dangerous Rios, who worked an inefficient Robertson to 3-2 before leaving a pitch up and in to Rios, who desposited it into shallow center, 5-3 Jays, widening the gap for Toronto, Rios moves to second on a passed ball.  Robertson is not impressing, failing to throw strikes against Dellucci 3-0, finally pours in a strike with Tomko lurking ominously in the pen, 3-2 at the knees–stop screwing around Robertson–foul to keep it alive, foul tip that Jorge dropped to keep it alive, with Gardner making a terrific running catch in deep left center, but the Yanks now trail 5-3 after a strange and pivotal top of the sixth. Posada, Matsui, and Melky to face Halliday, who has sat for some time.  What effect that will have remains to be seen.

Bottom 6: Posada bloops to right, one out.  After Melky’s two-out single, The Jet loops out wanly to center for the third out, letting Halliday get a scoreless inning.  Halliday is at 94 pitches after 6, not bad work by the Yanks against the great pitcher.  But the sixth was painful thus far, and Bruney needs to hold it here in the top of the seventh.  He threatens not to, second and third with one out, but Bruney gets Rolen to pop out to second, and Overbay to line out to a busy Cano to hold it at 5-3 Jays.

Bottom 7: Jeter singled to right, and as I played fetch with Dali the dog, I called out Wrap one around the pole, JD.  And JD homered to deep right tying the game at 5!  Huge at-bats against Halliday, making this an eminently winnable game. Teixeira grounded out, A-Rod singled up the middle as the Jays bullpen stirs.  [Wang is out with a strained right shoulder and has been taken for an MRI, quite a shame considering how strong he looked for the first five.  Hopefully he’s OK.  Wang finally gave a glimpse this year of what he has been and hopefully will again be.] A-Rod grounded into an inning-ending DP, but the Yanks have been terrific against Halliday, who just may be done after seven at 108 pitches.  He’s not been his best, and the Yanks made him pay.  Great game thus far.

Top 8: Hughes was terrific and dominant in the eighth, buzzing through the Jays in just eight pitches.  League negotiated Matsui’s one-out ground-rule double to avert damage in the eighth.  Mariano allowed a single in the ninth but was good and efficient, but probably won’t go a second.  I’d expect Aceves if there is a tenth.  Teixeira is ahead of Accardo 2-1, 3-1, ripped a liner foul to right, he then fouled off two more before ripping one to deep center, with Jeter wisely tagging to go to second, two outs for A-Rod, a big hit from whom may win the game.  But the Jays won’t give him the chance.  A-Rod, who homered off Accardo yesterday afternoon, received an intentional pass for Accardo to face Cano, who is 0-4 today, grounded into a DP, and has left three in scoring position.  Gaston instead is going to the lefty Jesse Carlson.  Cano really needs to get this RISP issue off his back.  He doesn’t, sending the game to the tenth.

Coke has been good through two, giving the Yanks a chance to win in the eleventh with Brett the Jet, The Captain, and JD, who do nithing, groundout and two K’s.  Top of the 12th and Tomko is in.  He must be tough here for at least two. Tomko got Scutaro to line out to JD in left, Hill is fouling off everything including one off Jorge’s mask, tailing fastball in two down.  Lind whaled one deep to right but to the wall three down. Teixeira, A-Rod, and Cano loom.

Bottom 11: Teixeira doubles down the right field line, and A-Rod will get walked for Cano to prove he can hit with RISP.  Atrocious play, call, and execution on Cano’s miserable attempt at a bunt, no advance, with Posada coming up.  That’s weak, not making the third baseman play that bunt–“can’t hit in scoring position, can’t advance the runners with a bunt.  What good is he?!?” as Frank the Sage opined right afterward.  Jorge laces a single to right center, scoring A-Rod, 6-5 Yankees!  With the Red Sox loss, the Yanks are one back.  Outstanding!!

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Published in: on July 4, 2009 at 12:15 pm  Leave a Comment  

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