Yanks Sweep Baltimore 10-2

Behind another gem from C.C. and some ninth-inning fireworks, the Yanks blew out Baltimore 10-2 to complete the sweep in Camden Yards.  A-Rod is heating up, driving in four, earning his 2,500th career hit and looking menacing at the plate.  JD was a monster with four hits, while Swish, Cano, and Melky each had two.  Hinske continues to tattoo the ball, homering yet again to tie the game in the third.

C.C. gave up a soft run in the first when he misplayed Roberts’s bunt for a hit, Reimold blooped a single to right with one out, first and third, and Markakis drove in Roberts with a sac fly, 1-0 Baltimore.  This rally hurt a bit more because the Yanks had a good chance to get on the board in the top of the first when JD doubled, and Swish walked.  But A-Rod ripped one that Mora jumped and snared, doubling off JD to end the threat.  C.C. pitched out of a bases-loaded, one out jam in the bottom of the second, fanning Roberts on a nasty change and getting Izturis looking on a tough slider.

Hinske clocked a 3-2 fastball over the wall in center to tie the game in the top of the third.  The guy is just amazing, hitting his seventh homer with the Yanks in his short stint.  There is no way he cannot be on the post-season roster.  He must be.  C.C. settled in nicely, working 1-2-3 innings in the third, fourth, and sixth.  In the seventh, the Yanks scored two when Swish led off with a walk, JD doubled, and A-Rod went down and got a sinking fastball, lining it into center, 3-1 Yankees.  Cano turned a beauty of a DP in the bottom of the seventh.  With one out, CC. got Roberts to bite on a 1-2 change low and away, and Roberts hit a slow roller to Cano who, instead of shuffling it to Jeter who was sliding toward the bag, scooped the ball, shuffle-stepped to his right and, as he stepped on the bag with his right foot, whipped his patented side-arm throw to nail the speedy Roberts.  It was just an amazing play.  With Roberts running and the ball not hard hit, it could have been just one out.  Yet Cano has such confidence in his arm, rightly so, that he made it look almost routine when it was anything but.

Speaking of anything but routine, Bruney pitched the eighth, to the considerable confusion of Sterling and Waldman in the WCBS booth, who did not consider that Girardi might be resting Mariano.  They fully expected Hughes, then poured for a few minutes over the fact that, while Hughes is the eighth inning guy, he was not pitching the eighth.  Melky made a nice play on Izturis’s liner for the first out, then Bruney did the predictable and allowed a homer to Reimold that cut the lead to one, 3-2.  Coke got Markakis on a nice play in left by JD, and Hughes then entered and got Mora on another good play, this time by Hairston in right.

The Yanks then exploded for seven in the top of the ninth to win it going away.  Jeter walk, JD singled him to third, Swish walked, and A-Rod singled in Jeter and JD, 5-2 Yanks.  Matsui singled in Swish, 6-2 Yanks.  Cano’s fly out moved A-Rod to third, and Melky’s single scored him, 7-2.  Hairston flew out to right for the second out, but Molina singled in Pena pinch-running for Matsui, 8-2 Yanks.  Jeter singled in Melky, 9-2, and JD singled in Molina, 10-2 Yanks.  After Swish flew out to mercifully end the rally, the Yanks went 6-9 with RISP in that inning alone, improving their RISP hitting for the game to 7-15.  This team is just relentless, and I absolutely love how they play.

Mind-bogglingly, Hughes was pitching the ninth.  It was bad enough at the time, for the Yanks just batted around and then some to score seven and push the lead to eight. Yet here Hughes was, working an inning in a blowout.  Didn’t they just call up Melancon, Edwar, and Dunn?  Wasn’t this a time when they could have had a look at the lefty Dunn, who would have faced a lefty in Scott in the bottom of the ninth?  All the worse, Girardi and Mariano revealed after the game that Mariano has been dealing with a groin strain in his left leg for the last couple weeks, and would not be available for at least a few days. This may well explain the velocity issues I noticed in the first game of the Baltimore series. If there was ever a “good” time for it to happen in a season, it is now, with a big bulge made all the bigger by Boston and the Angels losing.  Yet here Girardi is, knowing that Mariano must sit for a few days to heal, and he continued to use Hughes in a stinking blowout.  Who would be the logical closer with Mariano laid up?  Hughes!  But be sure to pitch him up eight.  Pathetic. He blew away the side with three K’s, but all that did was pad his K total and unnecessarily use up 18 pitches.  I’m still shaking my head, and a little steamed, over it despite the big win.

A-Rod was 3-5 with 4 RBI, giving him 75 this year and raising his average to .274.  He now has an 11-game hitting streak in which he has raised his average 20 points by going 18-43, scoring 9 runs and driving in 11.  Amazingly, he has only 2 extra base hits in this stretch, but that’s fine with me.  I care more about RBI than homers anyway, and A-Rod is delivering a run a game right now.  JD was 4-5 with 2 runs, a walk, his 31st double, and an RBI, also his 75th, upping his average to .293.  Swish was 2-4 with 2 runs, his 28th double, and 2 walks, batting .250.  He must be sad to leave Camden Yards.  Cano was 2-5, batting a robust .320.  Melky was 2-5 a run, his 24th double, and an RBI, his 50th, batting .274.  Hinske cranked his 7th homer in just 23 games as a Yankee.  Molina was 1-4 with a run and his 10th RBI.  Jeter was 1-5 with a alk, a run and his 61st RBI, batting .332.  Matsui was 1-5 with his 73rd RBI, batting .264.  All starters had a hit.

But as it has been so often, one must come back to the pitching to get a full sense of why the Yanks won last night, and continue to roll so impressively, up 37 games over .500 with their sixth straight win.  One Carsten Charles Sabathia went seven strong innings yet again.  In 10 starts since the break, Sabathia has gone at least seven innings in 8 of them, and went 6 2/3 in another; very impressive.  So was his final line last night–7 IP, 7 hits, 1 walk, 1 run earned, and 9 K on just 105 pitches/73 strikes.  He’s efficient, he’s throwing lots of strikes, and increasingly he’s fanning people.  In those 10 post-break starts, C.C. has fanned 72 in 71 IP.  In pushing his record to 16-7, the most wins in the AL with a 3.48 ERA, C.C. in my mind has pushed himself into the Cy Young debate.  He’s gotten stronger as the season has progressed.  He’s been durable and very reliable.  He’s taken command of the staff and, with Pettite, provided a long string of strong starts at home and on the road.  He has been nothing short of the staff ace, exactly why the Yanks signed him.

Boston lost 8-5 to Tampa Bay, putting the Yanks a healthy 7 1/2 games up in the East and reducing the magic number to clinch to 23.  Seattle beat Kazmir and the Angels 3-0 behind a gem from King Felix, putting the Yanks 6 1/2 up on the Angels for home field.  The Yanks are cruising, playing their best baseball, have won 34 of 45 since the break, and have gone 23-7 in their last 30.  They’re shredding teams right now and building a big cushion.  That should certainly allow Mariano to rest his groin strain, should allow regulars to rest, and hopefully if Girardi remembers them allow call-ups such as Dunn and Melancon to get some looks.

Enjoy it, Yankees fans.

Published in: on September 3, 2009 at 8:55 am  Comments (3)  

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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. And a sweet sweep at that, Jason. CC was as dominant as he usually is. Hopefully he keeps it up going into October. Plus, I’m beyond happy that the Rays beat the Sox. That certainly eased my mind all the more. Now on to Toronto to face the Jays.

  2. You covered it all, Jason, and I second every word. Just a special mention about Eric Hinske. I agree: he MUST be on the postseason roster. We haven’t had a bench player who can hit homers since Ruben Sierra. I’m not wild about his defense in right field, but I’ll take the offense!

  3. I just wrote a post comparing Hinske to Glenallen Hill on the 2000 Yanks, Jane. But Sierra is a good comparison, too; good point.

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