Yanks Take Seventh Straight, 6-3

After a rain delay of about 2 1/2 hours, the Yanks took the field and fell behind 2-0 in the second, then 3-0 in the fourth, to Oakland.  Yet a big four-run rally in the fourth, and two more in the fifth, propelled an initially shaky but ultimately gutty Sabathia to his 10th win.  With Mariano getting the night off, Hughes entered and worked a two-inning save, allowing the most trustworthy to get some rest, and the less trustworthy to collect more rust.  However it must be done, although I worry about burning out the front-line relievers.  Still, a relatively minor complaint right now as the Yanks took their seventh straight, going up 2 1/2 games on Boston, and 6 1/2 on Tampa, seven in the loss column.

CC started with a 1-2-3 first but threw first-pitch balls to two of three and was behind in the count, making me a bit uneasy.  The second inning confirmed that this would not be a smooth start for him as he allowed two runs.  Garciaparra singled and Suzuki doubled on pitches up, Cust’s sac fly to center made it 1-0 A’s, and Crosby’s single added another, 2-0.  A 6-4-3 DP ended the third for CC on just 6 pitches, but local boy Vin Mazzaro baffled the Yanks through three.  The only Yankee hit in that stretch went unrequited, for Cano misread the ball’s path into the left field corner as Holliday easily threw him out trying for two, while Brett the Jet’s walk and stolen base found no purchase with Jeter’s K to end the third.

Halliday’s lead-off ground-rule double and Suzuki’s one-out single that Hinske just missed in right made it 3-0, and I started to get the feeling that it would just be one of those night.  Not so fast.  The Yanks solved Mazzaro the second pass through the order, as JD’s patient at-bat yielded a lead-off single and, after falling behind 3-0 to Teixeira, Mazzaro served up a belt-high meatball that Teixeira creamed into The Teixeira Tier (the second deck in right) to cut it to 3-2 and fast.  Excuse me, Mr. Teixeira sir, would you like a napkin with that meatball? The rally continued as A-Rod walked on 3-2 then stole second, his 6th stolen base and the third straight game with a successful steal–a good sign.  After Matsui’s pop out, Jorge doubled him home to tie the game.  Cano, miserable with RISP (0-2 tonight and now .205 with RISP), popped out for the second out, but Hinske the Clutch singled Jorge home for the lead the Yanks would not surrender.

CC worked around a lead-off single to post an important goose egg after the Yanks’ rally, with New York adding two more for good measure in the fifth.  Jeter came back from 0-2 to walk, JD singled him to second, and Teixeira doubled him home, 5-3.  A-Rod fanned, a big out for it prevented two outs from scoring two more runs, Matsui walked, and Jorge delivered an RBI single to center, 6-3.  Yet Cano the RISP challenged again popped out as did Hinske.  Good follow-up rally, but it should have been more.

CC allowed a hit in each of the next two innings but wasn’t threatened, finishing with what was on the whole a fairly good performance–7 IP, 9 hits, three runs earned, no walks (key, for he had 3 in each of his two previous starts), and 4 K’s on 109 pitches/71 strikes.  He definitely got better as the game went on, something that has characterized most starts for the Yanks after the break.  He threw hard–95-96 steadily, and kept his pitches down well after the second inning.  Seven straight good starts, seven wins.  Coincidence?  I think not.  Hughes worked a 9-pitch eighth, getting some help from Cano with his patented flip throw across his body–and a nice patented Teixeira scoop–to end the inning.  He needed 19 pitches in the ninth to close it out, and it felt like 17 of them went to Crosby, the final batter of the game.  But Hughes was again great, giving everyone else and especially Mariano a rest, which Hughes should get for the next two days.  He’s been outstanding; he’s also worked back-to-back days three times this month.  Sit the kid, he’s too precious a commodity to burn out.  I completely understand Girardi’s going to the hot and trusted hands.  A couple blowout wins for the Yanks would ease the work for the front-line relievers.  None have occurred since the break, alas.  And it’s hard to complain with how a seven-game winning streak has occurred.  I’m just thankful for it.

Teixeira crushed his 24th homer and a double (his 25th) and has 70 RBI, batting .279.  In July, he’s 23-78 (.295) with 4 homers–3 after the break–and 7 RBI in the 7 post-break wins.  JD was 2-4 with 2 runs, batting .281.  Jorge was 2-4 with a double (14th) and 2 RBI, batting .286.  Cano (.310), Hinske (.266), and Jeter (.316) each had a single, and Melky (.277) doubled in his only plate appearance.  Brett the Jet was hitless but had a walk and stole his 20th base.  The guy is a genuine asset and, at .274, is hitting acceptably.  If he’s getting on base at least once a game and stealing a base, who can complain?  Yes, I’d like to see his average bump up a bit but, if you had told me before the season that he would be at .274 with 20 steals nearing the end of July, I’d have said fine.  And I say fine.  4-13 with RISP, stranding 7 (5 in scoring position), was overall very good.

Enjoy it while we can, Yankees fans.  This has been excellent, and just what the Yankees needed to do after the break with the long home stand–win lots of games, get good pitching, and especially beat the sub-.500 teams.  They have done all that and, crucially, done so at the very same time that Boston has struggled (especially offensively).  They have put distance between themselves and the Rays.  After some real struggles with the rotation in April, the Yanks have moved toward the middle of the pack in the AL in rotation numbers for ERA and IP (10th), while having the 5th-best BAA among AL rotations (.266) entering tonight’s game.  While the bullpen has thrown the 4th-most innings entering tonight, they have the 8th-best ERA but, more importantly, the best BAA among AL bullpens (.227) entering tonight.  They’re mowing teams down, holding leads and cinching wins game in and game out.

Soak it in, Yankees fans.  While there are some issues to iron out, such as Wang’s shoulder as he will get a look from Dr. Andrews and its implications for the fifth spot in the rotation, and working others such as Bruney, probably Marte, Robertson, and Melancon (who might get farmed out for Marte) into some regular work to alleviate the others, this team can’t help but make us smile right now.  I know I am.

Published in: on July 24, 2009 at 12:41 am  Comments (4)  

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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Got to say it mate you do right up the best game reviews. I missed the game it started 3am for me not great.

    Great win come back from 3-0 down to win after all that rain. CC sounds as if he was ok but the thing that pleases me is that CC, AJ and Tex are usually better second half season players. Also with Alex getting 5 days off stealing bases with just getting back to his old self.

    As Mike knows im not a fan of Cashman but credit were it is due hes great at making trades. Hinske has been a good addition so far a good suprise. Lets hope he pulls of another good trade with a good starter.

  2. You’re too kind, Nick. I figured the game would be tough for you once the rain came. CC got better as the game went on, but had a rough start. He wasn’t locating his fastball well early.

    I totally agree about A-Rod’s stealing, as well as the Hinske deal which thus far has been a steal. I’ve always like his bat, but thought him a very limited fielder. In some ways, he’s a lefty Shelley Duncan but with a somewhat more reliable bat.

    Wang’s situation worries me for his sake long term, and also where it leaves the Yankees. It puts the onus on the other starters staying healthy.

  3. I stayed up until 4am to watch the encore because I HAD to know what happened. I had left my house and it was 3-0, then I found out they won and I was ecstatic. My smile was ear to ear. 7 straight is fantastic. I just hope we don’t get too upset when a loss comes around… =( Yes, that’s me being a realist! LOL =)

  4. Honestly Lisa, I REALLY don’t know what kind of fan you are, presuming they won’t run the table the rest of the 67 games plus the playoffs. You must be one of those glass-half-empty types. 🙂

    Not just the 3-0 score, but especially how CC struggled through his first four (and Mazzaro buzzed the Yanks), had me worried. It was quite a turnaround, starting with Teixeira’s enormous blast.

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