If the umps can’t tell when the ball hits this fence, then they’re just hopeless. (Photo by )
Joe Girardi bounced out of the dugout in the bottom of the 9th inning with the intention of getting thrown out of the game. You could see in the spring of his step. He was fired up and ready to go. A few shouts, a few hat tosses and some dirt-kicking later, Girardi was on his way to the showers, and the Yanks would be one Robbie Cano hit away from their second win in a row.
One night after an A-Rod home run was called back because the umps couldn’t position themselves to make a good call, controversy erupted at a somewhat quiet and very relaxed Yankee Stadium in the 9th. Jason Giambi took a pitch that the home plate ump ruled had hit his bat. Foul ball. Strike three. Yer out.
The call was, apparently, delayed too because Ramon Hernandez didn’t do much of anything, and Giambi backed out of the box. After the call, Hernandez even threw the ball down to third even though Hideki Matsui was on first base. It was exceedingly weird.
But, hey, it fired up the crowd; it fired up Joe Girardi; and less than five minutes later, Frank was spreading the news as Yankee fans left the Bronx elated.
The rest of the game was a pitcher’s duel of sorts. Brian Burres kept the Yanks off balance, and they obliged by swinging at everything. The Yanks’ only walk tonight came when Bobby Abreu pinch hit in the 9th. It would be a key at-bat as that walk forced Matsui to second where he could later score on Robinson Cano’s hitting.
Of course, for us here, the story of the night was Ian Kennedy. He threw 6 innings of one-run ball. He gave up four hits and four walks (that’s nearing Dice-BB territory) while striking out four. It was by far his best start of the season.
But I can’t say I was too satisfied. In a way, David Pinto sums it up best. Pinto wonders if Kennedy’s bad peripherals are something on which we should keep an eye. He ponders if Kennedy was simply lucky today. Too many times tonight did Orioles’ hitters hit the ball hard against Kennedy, and the Yankee defense — a few Johnny Damon catches and a second-inning Robbie Cano double play come to mind — picked up the slack.
I don’t want to take anything away from Kennedy; he showed vast improvement tonight and wiggled out of a few jams. But he’s not out of the woods yet. His next start will be against Baltimore again but this time in the smaller Camden Yards. How he adjusts to hitters who have already seen him will be a telling moment in the youngster’s season.
In the meantime, a win is a win is a win. It feels good to win two in a row. Let’s make it three.
No DotF tonight, folks. Every now and then, life interferes with blogging, and Mike was out this evening. Box scores are here: AAA, AA, Tampa (Chris Garcia: 6 IP, 2 H, 1 BB, 10 K), Charleston.