That was a pleasant surprise, now wasn’t it? Moose just handed in his best performance of the year. It was only the fourth time this year he finished the seventh inning, and the third in which he pitched more than five innings and allowed zero runs. He struck out six and walked just one (and the first batter of the game at that), en route to throwing 66 percent of his 98 pitches for strikes. He didn’t have the 90s velocity the YES gun had him at last outing, which I think says more to the YES gun’s inconsistency than to Moose’s performance. Incidentally, I set the unofficial record for saying the phrase, “Moose is dealin’!”
When I do a writeup of a game, I try to pick the three most important aspects of the game and discuss them, rather than take you inning-by-inning through a game you saw — and if you didn’t see it, you could just as easily look through the play-by-play (which I prefer from CBS, since the PBP is detailed, and their site is quick to load). Tonight, though, was more of a carnival than a game, so it feels more appropriate to pick out the attractions.
It’s tough to sit a guy like Derek Jeter, even if he’s nursing a few nicks and bruises. With every game as crucial as the next, the Yanks can ill-afford to be starting subs — though if the situation arose, I’d far rather have Wilson Betemit than Miguel Cairo, ephemeral success aside. But Jeter had been at a paltry .235/.324/.296 from August 13 up until the Red Sox series, and .162/.295/.189 to that point in September. It appears that Derek Jeter doesn’t care to slump any longer: he’s 11 for his last 27 (.407) with a walk (.429 OBP), two doubles and two homers (.704 SLG). His 3 for 4 with a walk was huge last night.
Can we get a standing-O for Doug Mientkiewicz? The dude has had it rough this year, and we haven’t exactly been easy on him. On the scale of position difficulty, first base is rated as the easiest (not counting DH), but I think that’s at least slightly inaccurate. As a commenter earlier pointed out (and identify yourself; I have seven tabs open right now and just can’t go fishing through comment threads), first base is involved in more plays than any other position. Mientikiewicz handles that responsibility better than anyone else on the team, and it’s going to save us runs in the long-term. Last night, his bat did some talking, too. Though I don’t think he’ll ever hit a home run as sweet as the one he hit off Schilling back in June.
Just a couple of issues on the other side of the ball. I didn’t catch Matsui’s single in the 7th, but his double in the 4th didn’t look too pretty. But hey, sometimes days like this get you going, no matter how poorly you’d been swinging the bat. Same with Melky. Yeah, he got results in his final two at bats, but he still doesn’t look all there at the plate. In any case, you gotta play him today. Johnny Damon could use a day off.
And hey hey! Bronson Sardinha got his first major league at bat. A strikeout isn’t the best way to kick things off, but hey, at least he’s up here. Seeing Shelley strike out as well was saddening.
In the scoreboard watching department, Boston dropped to the Blue Jays. We thank you, Eric Gagne. Only 2.5 games separate us from the division, two in the loss column.
In the other game of importance, Justin Verlander couldn’t keep the ball in the park, giving up homers to Ryan Garko, Travis Hafner, Victor Martinez, and Franklin Gutierrez. We’re now four and a half up on Detroit, our magic number being 7 for the Wild Card.
Pettitte vs. some guy names Burres tonight. He’s got a 5.47 ERA through 107 innings this year, having walked 60. He apparently got us good for six innings back on July 28, but that’s a good thing at this point. We all know how the Yanks tend to fare against crappy pitchers they’ve never seen.