Joba, Pitching Excellent Again as Yankees Sweep Tigers

Like CC, Joba got stronger as the game went on and, like CC, Joba escaped a jam with runners on in the middle of the game, pitching 6 2/3 excellent innings before Coke (1 pitch, retiring Granderson), Hughes (2 K’s), and Mariano (26th save, 3rd straight game saved, and 508 in his incomparable career) set down the Tigers, 2-1.  Two solo homers, from A-Rod in the fourth and Teixeira in the sixth, supplied the Yanks’ offense against Edwin Jackson who, like Verlander, was gallant in defeat.  Huge sweep to start a big, ten-game homestand, and a good sign that they bested a division leader in three close games, all characterized by excellent pitching.

Joba flirted with trouble in the first three innings, working around a one-out walk and single in the first and lead-off walks in both the second and third, to blank the Tigers through the first third of the game.  He stranded Granderson at third in the third after he stole second and took third on Jorge’s atrocious throwing error into center.  The Yanks, meanwhile, had few chances and a couple of those ended in 4-6-3 DPs on terrific plays at second by Polanco.  But in the fourth, Joba hung a 1-2 slider to Clete Thomas, who creamed it 20 rows deep in right center for the first run of the game.  A-Rod reciprocated in the bottom half of a good fastball low and in, crushing it to left center to tie it, his 19th HR this year and 572nd in his magnificently tainted career.

The fifth was crucial, for Joba allowed a single to right center that Swish completely misplayed and thankfully Brett the Jet backed up, giving Granderson a one-out triple.  After hitting Polanco, Joba set Cabrera down on a pop up and fanned Thames on a rising 3-2 fastball, punctuated by an energetic fist-pump indicating the seriousness of the situation from which he wriggled free.  A strong sixth in which he fanned Thomas and Inge in succession provided some optimism.  After Mike texted me about the tight game and difficulty in mounting anything off Jackson, who was rolling, I responded, I am confident.  It may take another HR. On cue, Teixeira blasted a 3-1 low fastball deep to right to break the tie and supply the game-winning run, his 23rd homer of the year.  The Yanks missed a great chance to add on when A-Rod singled off the wall in right, what I thought really should have been a double.  The TBS feed did not supply a good replay of A-Rod running, so I don’t know whether or not he was slow out of the box, but Thomas made a strong throw to second regardless.  Jorge absolutely smoked a double from which Cabrera recoiled in terror, second and third.  But Cano’s soft liner to short ended the threat of more runs.

Joba looked strong at the end of his start, fanning Laird and Santiago with sliders before Girardi lifted him for Coke to face Granderson, who has struggled against lefties, hitting just .185.  Coke, allowing lefties to hit just .210 against him, retired Granderson on the first pitch, a lazy liner to Jeter.  Teixeira smoked a liner right to Anderson to left for the third out in the seventh, stranding two.  But Hughes was The Man, fanning Thames and Thomas with high heat after Cabrera’s one-out single.  He’s been just tremendous in the setup role and as a reliever in general.  Mariano allowed just his fourth walk this year to Laird with two outs, a minor hiccup on the way to the save for the third straight game.

Teixeira and A-Rod were each 2-4 with the solo homers, and Posada added his 12th double.  The combinations of Jeter and Brett the Jet atop the order, and Cano, Swish, and Melky at the bottom of it, each went 0-7.  I’ll say this for Melky–he hit the ball hard on the 4-6-3 DP ball that Polanco snared, and ensured Swish’s advance in the seventh, on which Swish was running, with a chopper to second, nicely done.  I say that because, sometimes, statistics don’t tell the whole story, so Melky’s 0-3 wasn’t exacty feeble.  That the Yanks were 0-5, stranding 7, was directly attributable to Jackson’s excellent performance.  Even the two home-run pitches were good ones, and one could easily justify throwing A-Rod a fastball low and in since he has had trouble catching up to that this year.

Joba was the story, going 6 2/3 strong, allowing just three hits, three walks, a run earned on Thomas’s homer, hitting a batter, but fanning eight on 107 pitches/68 strikes, looking as good as he has all year, really.  That was exactly the kind of start the Yanks needed from Joba, and certainly the kind of start the Yanks needed to have in this series against the Tigers, who were third in the AL in team ERA entering today and doing nothing to taint that spot after Jackson’s gem.  The win for Joba was well-earned and a direct result of taking the ball deeper into the game, working efficiently, and attacking the strike zone.

Great to see the Yanks not just start the nominal second half and homestand strong with a sweep, to see Burnett, CC, and Joba pitch very well, but also to see the Yanks win three straight close games that required strong pitching.  As Mike and I agreed in a post-game chinwag, it would be wise to sit Mariano tomorrow regardless since he pitched in and saved those three games.  Coke should be available. Hughes, who threw 40 pitches after the break Friday but just 13 today, might be able to go one tomorrow and save it if necessary.  Robertson is fresh and, hopefully, can pitch accurately.  Aceves is available.  I love the sweep but, if there is an unfortunate by-product of these excellent, well-pitched games in the sweep, it has been the need to use Mariano in all three.  Give The Man a blow.

These wins have been vital since Boston lost to Doc Halliday and the Jays today, bringing the Yanks to within a game of first in the East, and also because the Rays bested KC 4-3, keeping them in the hunt.  I must say how impressed I am with the play of the Yanks, Red Sox, and Rays this past month, with all three playing tough, inspired ball to make the East the kind of race many of us figured it would be before the season.  Others and I speculated that the three best teams in the game were in the East and, with the exception of LA, LAA(-AAAAAAAAAAAAA) and the defending champs Philly, that trio in the East has risen to the top of baseball.

Keep it rolling against Baltimore, guys.

[Edit: I neglected to pass along my kudos to Tom Watson who, despite a three-put collapse (the first off the green) on the 18th at The British Open to force a four-hole playoff that he eventually lost to Stewart Cink, what a tremendous effort from Watson, a legend of golf.  It was a shame to see him wanly push his par put short and to the right, and his dejection–and possibly some fatigue–seemed to burden him afterward.  An amazing effort overall, thoughHad he won, it would have been one of the most remarkable accomplishments in the history of golf, and the sporting world, I dare say akin to a tennis player about 41-43 winning Wimbledon in 2010.]

Published in: on July 19, 2009 at 5:26 pm  Comments (2)  

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  1. Yeah it really was great pitch this series got to say the best iv seen all year. I know CC, AJ and Joba have had better outtings but together in a series with the bull pen being so great aswell.

    Alex on 19 homers hes catching Tex want to bet he ends with most in AL not just Yankees cause I bet the odds are decent. I really think he will rip Yankee stadium RF.

    I’m so glad you liked the movie I’ve looked around some forums and blogs the opinions does seem to be 50/50. Yeah im a fan of Rupert he very funny I do think the film makers are lucky that all the child actors turned out so well because it can really be tough. I was reading some fact in the papers 95% of child actors dont make it. I to love Rickman great actor also say Maggie Smith(professor mcgonagall) is so brilliant actually thinking about all the abult actors have all been great. Back to HP6 so much to say but ill leave it but that cave seen wow just wow when Harry comes out of the water to see Dumbledore standing there with the ring of fire was just fantastic. The death seen at the end was very sad very well done. Over all I stil don’t think its better Azkaban but second bets bring on teh last 2.

  2. I would like nothing better than to see A-Rod get off on a blistering HR tear, Nick, ala 2007 when he carried the Yanks for weeks at a time. That is, as long as his average also rises. I don’t want him to be, in the parlance of Dick Vitale, a “Johnny One-Note.” He’s too good a player for that, and needs to rip some base hits, too. Ron Darling at TBS made a good point today, saying that some rest for his hip may well allow him to generate more power and boost his productivity. I’d welcome that.

    Agreed all around about “The Half-Blood Prince.” I love Rickman, Smith, and also that other greats such as Gary Oldman (Sirius Black), Kenneth Branagh (hilarious as Gilderoy Lockhart), Emma Thompson (tremendous as always, in the series as Sybil Trelawney), Brendan Gleeson (who I think is great overall, playing Mad-Eye Moody in “Goblet”), Robbie Coltrane as Hagrid (he’s not in the movies enough any more, though that SHOULD change in the last two) and Michael Gambon (in one of my favorite movies also, “Open Range”) as a brilliant replacement for the incomparable Richard Harris as Dumbledore, joined the cast at various points. All amazing. “Half-Blood” got only a decent review in The New York Times, the reviewer for which took the actors, especially Radcliffe and Watson, to task for not being adroit enough. Not sure I agree much.

    You’re totally right about the cave scene, very intense. My wife yelled in surprise during it. I might prefer it to “The Prisoner of Azkaban,” although “Azkaban” still holds a special place in my heart. I also think that Cuaron did an amazing directorial job in “Azkaban.”

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