A-Rod comes through; Ortiz does not; Yankees win game, seriesBy
I have to admit: I just finished watching the game (It’s 7 a.m. as I write this). After Alex and Jorge failed to deliver with runners on first and third in the seventh, I was done. The deadly combination of frustration and sleepiness convinced me to turn off Miller and Morgan and hit the sack. “If they come back, they come back,” I said. After all, I have MLB.tv and could watch the game in the morning if I had to.
Which is exactly what I just did.
We’ve been asking Andy Pettitte to shoulder so much burden this year that it almost seems unfair. It’s even less fair that when we ask him to do this, we don’t score any runs behind him (though that obviously wasn’t the case last time he faced Boston). Thankfully, Pettitte isn’t easily discouraged, and continues to pitch like the ace that no one thought he could be.
In the fifth, though, things unraveled. We saw the medical team head out to the mound, which is a unpleasantly familiar sight for this team. Pettitte stayed in, but wasn’t very effective. He loaded the bases and wound up being charged with all five runs scored by the Red Sox. Though they weren’t really all his fault — Bobby Abreu’s complete misplay let in three runs.
If he misses a start, we’re in trouble — Kei Igawa will certainly get the nod in that case. Hopefully, Pettitte’s back spasms aren’t as bad as they were in March, where he missed over a week. You’ll be sure to hear any further updates here.
As for the first four runs we scored, let’s give some props to Phelpsy. The dude can hit; just give him some consistent time in the lineup. Beat reporters like Pete Abreham and [unnamed hack] like to harp on Phelps’s long swing, saying it leaves him vulnerable. This just in: he has enough bat speed at this point of his career to compensate. Yeah, he’ll have to make adjustments as hit bat slows down, but right now, he’s fine. He’ll strike out his share, but that’s fine. As long as he’s hitting around .270 and has a .340 to .350 on base, we’ll be doing well by having him at first.
People also call him a butcher at first base. Once again, give him consistent time at the position. Let him learn to scoop out some throws. No, he’s not going to make some of the plays that Minky makes; we all know who the superior defender is. However, he probably won’t go through prolonged hitting slumps like Minky and become an automatic out for two weeks — or a month. And that’s a huge boost to the lineup.
Many people say that the Yankees have enough offense to overcome Minky’s presence in the lineup. Beyond that not being as true a statement as it was in April, it fails to miss the point, I think. Outs are valuable. They’re like time: once they’re gone, they never come back. Every out you make takes you 1/27th closer to the end of the game, and 1/3 closer to reseting everything and starting over in the next inning. So you can have excellent hitters 1 through 8, but if you’re getting a .290 OBP out of the nine slot, you’re negating an advantage provided by the American League. Phelps’s bat is far less harmful than MInky’s.
What kind of recap would this be without talk of our favorite Yankee, Alex Rodriguez? You can knock the guy if you want to — though it would probably be foolish at this point. Yeah, he didn’t exactly destroy the ball on his first RBI. But he did run like a banshee to beat out the (errant) throw to first. We surely all wanted to kill him after he popped up to the infield with runners on first and third with one out in the seventh. But I think he more than made up for that.
It was a big win in dramatic fashion to take two of three from the Sox. Even though they currently lead the season series 7-5, almost every game has been winnable. As Ben said, this is far from over. Now, we just need to keep taking two out of three and mix in a sweep here and there. It may sound unrealistic, but we’ve seen crazier things. This is baseball, after all.
Some other random notes:
- For all the crap we give Jorge for not blocking the plate, that was a spectacular block of Lugo. Speaking of Lugo, man, does that guy suck or what? It looks like his 2006 second half was more indicative of his skills than his first half.
- Yeah, Abreu saved two runs with his on-the-run catch on a Pedroia fly in the eighth. But look at the replay. He was almost running away from the ball, and it just happened to be there when he stuck out his glove. Despite the play, he is still not good on defense. He’s stepping into the buck far fewer times, however, and seems to be taking more pitches and fouling some off.
- Welcome back, Robbie. He’s picking up the pace. If he and Abreu can pick it up, this offense will have much less to worry about.
- I have to say, watching Alex’s 9th inning at bat was even sweeter having known the outcome. Watching Fenway on it’s feet, and then completely silenced, was one of the mores satisfying moments of the season. I’d say that the Yanks can definitely build on this one — but it appears some people on the team don’t believe in “momentum.”
DeSalvo vs. Garland tonight. Let’s rock this soft-tossing righty (and hope the Sox don’t rock ours).
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I’ll update this when the database is updated later this morning.