When the dust settled today, the Yanks managed to win two games against the Devil Rays with Matt DeSalvo and Kei Igawa as their starting pitchers. Things, it seems, are finally starting to fall into place for the previously snake-bitten bombers.
As the Yanks played a long day of baseball, it was a promising two games all around. First, the team moved a season-high four games over .500. They received offensive contributions from everyone. Johnny Damon scored three runs and drove in four. A-Rod hit another home run. Hideki Matsui launched two. Shelley Duncan hit his first big league home run to give him 25 jacks on the year, and Melky Cabrera returned to action with a 3-for-8 day.
On the pitching side of things, Matt DeSalvo and Kei Igawa each pitched well enough to give the Yanks a chance to win, and win they did. It once again took Igawa about 400 pitches to make it through 5 innings, and Matt DeSalvo was yanked after 4.2. But the bullpen did the job with Luis Vizcaino picking up two more wins. Believe it or not, his 8 wins are second overall on the Yanks. It’s hard to believe we were ready to dump him.
More excitingly though are the roster moves the Yanks made. While Edwar Ramirez‘s departure was inevitable after Friday’s debacle, the Yanks still couldn’t find room on the team for Chris Britton. Instead, Sean Henn is back. The Yanks now have three lefties in the pen, and I guess this means Torre views Ron Villone as a potential set-up man, Mike Myers as the (largely ineffective) LOOGY and Henn as the mop-up guy.
Meanwhile, the Reign of Wil Nieves came to end today. Nieves, who went 2 for 3 with 2 RBIs, was DFA’d after the Yanks traded Jeff Kennard to the Angels for Jose Molina. Kennard is a 25-year-old career minor leaguer currently pitching at AA. Hopes were originally high for him, but he’s never really panned out.
Molina, meanwhile, is hardly an All Star catcher, but he’s a serviceable back up. He is a career .238/.276/.339 hitter with a reputation as a solid defender. While he’s not going to knock down any doors, he’s a much more viable option off the bench than Wil Nieves was. The Yanks need to rest Jorge a bit more than they have been doing if they expect him to last the season. Molina, one of three brothers catching in the Majors (just in case you didn’t already know that), will fit that role perfectly.
Andy Pettitte goes today. Hopefully, the Yanks will take three of four again from the D-Rays.