Another home stand over, another series victory.
After Friday night’s rough outing from Ivan Nova, the Yankees got 6 shut out innings from Freddy Garcia – maybe the last place you’d look in the Yankees rotation for a pick-me-up performance. I suspect that Garcia is the the kind of pitcher who performs better on extra rest, but I don’t have the data to back it up; just notating that he exceeded expectations against a good hitting team after not having started a game in a few weeks. (Garcia did get that one relief inning in Boston, so this is only his second appearance of the young season.)
CC Sabathia just didn’t have it last night, most notably with his awful fastball control. The ESPN announcers can credit the text bats all they wish, but if CC is going to throw his fastball right down the middle like that, it’s akin to putting the ball on a t-ball stand for big league hitters, never mind a good hitting team like Texas. Sabathia is, however, an elite pitcher, so he has his secondary pitches to keep him in the game through 6.1 innings, most notably his change up to right handers and several good sliders. Last night, it was the Bronx Bombers doing it Bomber Banter style with homer after homer: Robinson Cano, Russell Martin and Curtis Granderson all contributed with the long ball. Martin and Eric Chavez also contributed via the 2 out RBI, so these guys were all getting it done box score style. Meanwhile, Derek Jeter, the anti-box score hero, contributed with a hit of his own, but I don’t feel like he’s in the zone yet, but I do think he’s close now. Chavez has continued to prove himself to be a valuable piece as he’s hit well in limited duty and has played a solid third in A-Rod’s absence – hopefully, A-Rod’s stiffness is a thing of the past by Tuesday. For next year, the Yankees are probably better off going with a right handed bat who can also play left field for Garnder as a DH so A-Rod can spend more time there. The guy is a beast at the plate, but I just don’t trust him to stay healthy if he has to play 150 games in the field.
We got to see the big three again last night – Joba Chamberlain was not great in relief and surrendered a run, but Rafael Soriano was downright nasty as he took down all three batters he faced with authority. Mariano Rivera came in and was Mo – that’s all there is to that.
I do want to take a second and mention that the new ESPN Sunday night baseball crew is twice as bearable as the old one. I guess they got a new director in there, too, because everyone is a lot more focused on what’s happening on the field rather that showing us the announcers in the booth, talking about nonsense or pimping topics/interviewing other things/people that have something to do with something that’s going to be on ESPN on another day. I think this puts ESPN slightly behind of FOX Sports in my ‘Totally Unbearable To Watch Sports On Your Network’ race – meaning FOX is currently the most unbearable. On the other hand, ESPN’s constant badgering of the Yankees leading MLB in home runs was annoying – I don’t care what anybody says, LEADING THE LEAGUE IN HOME RUNS IS NOT A BAD THING!
The Yankees are off today and will be back tomorrow at Toronto to face the Blue Jays. The Jays will be pesky again this year, but I don’t see them as a playoff team this year.
Ah the stench from the first series lost of the year. Can you smell it? You can smell it.
What can you say about pitching like this? Ivan Nova had a bad outing, but Clay Buchholz had a TERRIBLE trip to the mound. That’s all there is to it. Kudos to David Robertson for getting the job done in relief. Nobody puts a fire out like D-Rob!
To anybody who didn’t want Russell Martin – now would be a good time to admit you were wrong. The guy is obviously a fine catcher, and he can actually frame a pitch (take that, Jorge Posada!), but also has a variety of offensive tools, including power and base stealing. Assuming he stays healthy, we’re pretty lucky to have Martin.
Luis Ayala pitched two scoreless innings in relief – who knew he had it in him? Given Ayala’s many-stopped history, I’m sure he was the last person to know, but good for him!
Sunday night’s top of the 9th strike outs to Brett Gardner and Mark Teixeira… wow. Those last called looking strikes were not strikes. I appreciate that it was getting late and it was raining and it’s only April, but come on – don’t give Jonathan Paplebon any help, Blue.
That being said, Mark Teixeira looked awful at the plate during this series, going 0-15 with 7 Ks and 2 BB. Of course, Derek Jeter looked infinitely worse swinging wildly at those fastballs against Josh Beckett. Beckett looked, for the most part, like he’s returned to prime form after a few off seasons – the velocity was especially impressive, but can he stay healthy? That’s the question.
Dustin Pedroia was a beast the entire series: 9-13 in the series, 4 XBH, 4 R, 5 RBI. Not saying I’d trade Robinson Cano for him, but still, a good performance. Is it just me, or does he play back on the ball or is never in the right position to field a play, because he is always running all over the place out there. Granted, he always makes it, which is a testament to he is speed, but maybe if he was positioned better, he wouldn’t have to wear himself out every game. I feel like he has to sprint 5 yards to every routine ground ball, and it just looks weird.
CC Sabathia has an 0-1 record. What the shiz is that? He battled all night long last night and got zero run support. It’s ridiculous! Why can’t the Yankees score any runs for him?
Going into Friday afternoon’s game, I caught myself pitying the Red Sox fans. Their team was coming home with an 0-6 record, facing a Yankee team that was finding ways to win (mostly via the home run and pitching) on a 40 degree opening day. That sucks for anybody. Of course, the Red Sox fans made me regret any compassion I felt for them over and over throughout the weekend. Do you really need to let Fenway Park ring with chants of “Yankees suck!” when you’re winning a game 1-0? In April? I’m not saying Yankees fans don’t chant ‘Boston sucks!’ because we totally do, but the whole stadium doesn’t vibrate from the hollering of drunk morons – at a Yankee game, it’s just a few hundred people, not every single person in the building. I know this sounds crazy, but the behavior of Red Sox fans is so far outside the norm of what I see during other games (granted, the Yankees almost never head into Philadelphia) that I’m always shocked by it, no matter how many times I see it. Stay classy, Boston fans. (Keep in mind that I love the city of Boston and in my experience, people have always been very kind to me in and around the city. But I have been to a game at Fenway and yeah, it was scary. That building does something to those folks. Yankee fans might be hardcore, but Red Sox fans are in a cult or something.)
Monday is an off day before the Baltimore Orioles come to town with their AL East leading record, which I assure you, will not last. Brian Roberts is apparently not ill anymore and is cleared to play. We’ll have to wait and see what the Os truly have to offer on Tuesday.