Sure is good to get that horrible Toronto series out of our system. And because the Twins beat Chicago, we gain a game in the Wild Card. It would be even better if Oakland could muscle up a win over Boston, but it doesn’t look like that’s gonna happen.
Our pitching tonight was excellent. Johnson delivered a great start, lasting 6 strong innings with 7 strike outs and only 2 runs. After Proctor pitched a scoreless seventh, Farnsworth came in for the eighth and immediatly allowed two singles. But he then reared back and touched the high 90s for three straight swinging strike outs. Farnsworth is inconsistent, but when he’s on he’s untouchable. He’s simply been on fire the month of July, posting an ERA of .96. I was surprised to see Rivera pitch the ninth and I wish Torre saved Mo for a save situation. He could’ve tried Villone or Wilson for the final 3 outs. But Torre wanted a quick ninth so Mo jogs in and game’s over.
The offense had a highlight reel night. A-Rod had a good game. After Jeter led off the seventh with a double A-Rod added a double of his own for an RBI and the Yank’s sixth run. Jeter also had a nice night, that double and a triple right after Melky tripled. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen back to back triples (with 2 outs no less!). Speaking of Melky, he was a home run shy of the cycle and also threw out Teixeira trying to turn an RBI single into a double. Speaking of Tex, there’s a guy who hasn’t lived up to the high expectations. He hit 43 and 38 home runs the last two seasons. He also had 144 RBIs last year and a .301 batting average. So far he’s hit the long ball only 14 times and had only 9 at the All-Star break. He’s got an average at .271 and has 61 RBIs. Let’s compare that RBI total to Jeter’s which happens to be 59. Jeter only has 6 home runs and hits from the two spot, but has driven in about the same number of runs as Teixeira, who hits cleanup. I think this says more about how good Jeter is, but it doesn’t make Tex look great either. Basically my point is to provide more evidence that A-Rod is not the only player having an off year. Matter of fact, all of A-Rod’s stats are better than Tex’s. Why doesn’t Tex ever get booed?
So we’ll so how Eaton fares in his season debut tomorrow. He’s got a tough counterpart to match in Mussina. I hope Damon’s back in the lead off spot, but considering how well Melky did today Torre might decide to give Damon another day off.
Another good day for the Bronx Bombers. Every starting player had a hit except for Giambi and A-Rod and it’s a good sign when we still manage to win without the help of their big bats. It means all the components are working together like a well oiled machine. Chien-Ming was exquisite and Farnsworth did his job by getting the strike out and fly out to put this one in the books. Too bad the White Sox couldn’t help us out, but we can’t count on anyone except ourselves. As long as we’re playing good baseball I’m happy. If the Red Sox were to win every game from now till season’s end and we did too, we’d probably not make the playoffs but I’d still be ecstatic over how the Yankees were playing. And that’s what it all comes down to, playing your best and winning. I like to see games like this where the Yankees as a team play their quality and style of baseball for the win. So who cares if Boston won, because so did we. And because we didn’t hit any home runs maybe today wasn’t typical of the Bombers strategy. But we played to our strengths, dominant pitching, good defense (Melky’s Web Gem), and getting on base (especially from the leadoff spot, Melky once again having a huge game) to set up clutch hits. Let’s sweep this series up! Go Yankees!
Papelbon saved his 26th game. B.J. Ryan saved his 24th. Ray saved his 21st. Hoffman saved his 24th (460th career). Borowski saved his 16th. Dempster saved his 14th. Benitez saved his 10th.
I had bad feelings in the ninth. Farnsworth has not been effective protecting one run leads. An ERA in the high fours, 15 walks and 23 hits in 24 innings, the fact that the baseball god’s don’t want New York sweeping a four game set in Detroit for the first time since 1926 I think, some time long ago, all made me feel that something wouldn’t tip in our favor. I at least hoped for extras when they tied it 6-6. I’m not bitter about Farnsworth blowing his third save. The reason for the save situation was Wang. He blew a 5 run lead. I hope his meltdown for 5 runs in the fourth and fifth is not injury related. He pitched three really good innings. What was up with Verlander? What was up with Wang? Two proven pitchers who lost their carbonation. Instead of the little hummingbird quirks on their pitches, the batters were seeing bowling balls lobbed in the wheelhouse and teeing off. I guess it’s just one of those things that happen in this unpredictable game. Anyway, Farnsworth is still awesome for freezing Big Papi like a snowman.
So, everyone knows you can’t blow a 5 run lead. Wang knows. Pitchers kill for run support. He can’t complain. The Yankees offense is charging full steam ahead. Despite what happened, my confidence in Wang is the same.
I think Torre left Farnsworth in the game because he wants Kyle to be the second closer. He needs Kyle to adapt to the one inning, close game role that Mariano enters for. Maybe it’s to help Kyle pretend his job as the bridge artist, reaching back and zipping 99mph past the mannequin at homeplate in the eighth, is the same as the closer’s job an inning later. Torre wants Kyle to pitch the eighth like Mariano pitches the ninth. That will be their domain.
Some of the temps didn’t help either. T-Long’s had some nice games, so has Cairo. But they both had ofers tonight and left 9 and 4 men on base respectively. That could happen to anyone though. I guess I shouldn’t blame them.
Some people are saying, "The Tigers are back! The Tigers are back!", as if this win keys a return to the team who climbed to the majors’ best record. To this I think yes and no is the case. Yes, they are a good team and capable of winning and no, they didn’t win tonight because of their record. Yes, they hit a rough week and lost a few games they could’ve won. The Yankees won a few games they could’ve lost. And no, this win doesn’t mean they will keep up their .667. It was an unfortunate turn of events for the Yankees, but we won the series and that is what counts.
Good happened, too. Cano got 4 hits. I agree with Sterling when he says that Cano will be a superstar. Mattingly thinks Cano will win a batting title. Dear Cashman, don’t trade Robinson Cano! Giambi’s homerun was a nifty jab that darted to left like the corner pole was a magnet ******* in the ball. Melky made another appearance on Web Gems with a well coordinated, back peddling rob at the fence. Proctor pitched 2 1/3 innings of scoreless relief. He probably could’ve finished the ninth. And Darrell Rasner, the new guy, allowed only a hit in 1 2/3 innings.
Pray that Mariano will return healthy. The same for Jeter and Sheffield. And the same for Matsui. And Posada and Crosby, Dotel, Chacon and Pavano and…just pray for them all. Not that we require them to win. We’ll continue to hold our own.