Coming into this series, I really thought the Yankees needed to sweep the Red Sox. Granted, that’s asking a lot when playing the hottest team in baseball at Fenway Park, but the pitching was lined up to do it. Had Jeter not booted the double play ball that would’ve kept the score at 7-6 on Saturday, I really believe the Yankees would’ve won that game. Anyway…
Last night was a very impressive victory. The Yankees had a four run lead into the 5th with their best pitcher on the mound, and saw that lead vanish in one inning. Not to mention Pettitte seemed to get injured. An inning like that can really deflate a team, but the Yankees showed their grit last night.
Robinson Cano (I love this kid, he is going to be such a tremendous hitter for years) hit an RBI triple off the center field wall in the 8th inning of Okajima to tie the game. In a pathetic showing, the Yankees failed to get him in from third with nobody out. Again, something that can be very deflating for a team. But up came Alex with 2 outs in the 9th against Papelbon, who threw an 0-2 fastball on the outside corner – really not a bad pitch in the slightest – but A-Rod stayed on the ball and took it the other way to right center into the bullpen for the game winning home run. It’s always a very, very, very good sign to see A-Rod drive the ball the other way. When he hits the ball to right field he can get extremely hot. It’s when he’s pulling everything that he struggles.
Mariano came on in the 9th to close it out, and did a great job, though Ortiz hit a ball very hard. That was a bit scary. But then Mo struck out Manny, and after hitting Youkilis, struck out Lowell on a cutter up and in. It’s very clear that Mo is still fine and can be very effective. The ball Ortiz hit was right down the middle. As long as he can locate, which will come from getting more work, he will be as unhittable as he’s always been.
Two out of three ain’t bad, as they say. The way the Yankees have been going you have to take it as a Yankee fan. Two out of three is what they need to take from each team. If they do that, they’ll be fine and will make the playoffs. But they have to carry over from a game like this and play well tonight in Chicago.
A couple of notes:
- Finally he went with Brian Bruney in the 8th inning last night. Farnsworth pitched the 7th. I’m not sure if Torre did this because he wanted Farnsworth to face the heart of the Boston order, or if this is a permanent switch. I believe Bruney should stay the 8th inning guy.
- Because of Giambi’s injury, Torre is forced to make the move I’ve been wanting to see for weeks. Melky is the every day center fielder and Damon is the DH. Melky’s defense is so valuable, as seen once again last night on the amazing he catch he made on the warning track. Damon’s got no shot at making that play. There were also instances where runners could’ve tried to go 1st to 3rd if Damon was out there, but were forced to hold at 2nd because of Melky’s arm. It’s known around the league to not run on this kid, and having someone out there like that saves the Yankees from team’s taking extra bases on them.
- As a final thought, why not bring back Bernie?! With Giambi and Mientkiewicz out for the long-term, the Yankees two pinch hitters are every day players – Melky and Phelps. There’s no bat on the bench right now. Why not bring back Bernie? It’s not like Kevin Thompson is going to be a defensive replacement, and he’s certainly not going to pinch hit. He’s not serving any purpose. Bernie could be a reliable bat off the bench and could even DH against lefties. I don’t see how this could possibly hurt the team.
Big four game set in Chicago against a team who is not really playing well at all. The White Sox have a lot of trouble putting runs on the board and it looks like the Yankee bats are starting to get hot. If they can put up 5 runs per game, that should be enough to win. The focus is from here has to be to win every series, which would mean taking three out of four. The pitching is of course a question, but with them facing such a dormant lineup, the Yankees just need to swing the bats well and they’ll be fine.