Revel for a moment, if you will, in the glory that was Alex’s 9th inning bomb. There’s simply no more dramatic way to win a game, and it couldn’t have been delivered by a better player. End hyperbole.
Let’s get to the real concern, though: starting pitching. Some people looked Igawa’s numbers and thought he had a crappy game. Others, thinking that their observation skills could shine a brighter light on the game, pointed out that three of the runs scored on Melvin Mora’s dinky pop that miraculously found the grass. So, in essence, he didn’t pitch as badly as his line suggests. I find much fault in that argument.
Over five innings, Igawa gave us eight hits, walked three, struck out just two, and gave up two taters. Mora hit or no Mora hit, that’s still a line that’s going to kill you most games. He threw just 53 of his 97 pitches for strikes, and was continuously up in the zone. Against a team more disciplined than the Orioles (say, like the Red Sox), that’s a line that will get you slaughtered.
Now, that said, his working out of a jam was quite impressive. Regardless of the outcome, it’s discouraging to see a guy load the bases with none outs. But when you can induce an infield fly, strikeout, and pop up behind first base to follow, it shows at least a bit of poise. And yeah, it was bad luck that the Mora dinker touched down.
So you have to luck factors playing into the game’s outcome. He was unlucky to have the bloop single, and he was lucky that his walks, hits, and homers didn’t lead to more runs otherwise.
The bullpen was spectacular again. I know we’re only four games into the season, but this bullpen looks like the best in the league. Whether that holds up over the next 157 games we don’t know, but it’s tough not to like what we’ve seen so far.
An unsung highlight from yesterday’s bullpen team was Mike Myers. A lot of us don’t agree with the decision to use (or waste) a roster spot on a true LOOGY; they could probably get more value from a more versatile reliever or a fifth outfielder. However, Myers pitched a full inning and didn’t allow Baltimore to expand the lead. If he can be a LOOGY and come into situations like that and not surrender runs, he may just prove worthy of his roster spot. Him going a full inning yesterday allows more bullpen flexibility over the next few days, as the Yanks weren’t forced to use anyone for two innings, and let Proctor and Farnsworth (not to mention Henn, who did his duty on Friday) take the day off.
Rasner, looking to be the first starter to surpass the five-inning mark, takes on Erik Bedard, who we hope pitches like he did Monday in Minnesota. If Rasner can give us seven — hell, even six — innings, I’ll be more than happy. Despite the starters’ woes last week, the bullpen still seems to be in decent shape, with Proctor, Farnsworth, and Mo ready to go, the former two with some rest. Is it too much to ask for 12 runs and a complete game by Rasner?