Throughout his relatively successful Boston career, Tim Wakefield hasn’t exactly had the Yankees’ number. Over 46 games and 29 starts, Wakefield has thrown 208.1 innings against the Yankees. He has a 9-16 record and a 5.01 ERA against the Bombers.
So the Yankees, riding a seven-game winning streak and just two games behind the Red Sox, didn’t really need to face Tim Wakefield today. But, hey, who’s complaining?
Three hours and twenty-eight innings later, in a game that included an over-the-top retaliation for Joba’s missing Kevin Youkilis on Friday, the Yanks emerged the 10-3 victors over the Red Sox. The team is 58-45, just one game — two in the win column — behind the Red Sox for the Wild Card lead. Since the All Star break, the Yankees are 8-0, and they no longer lose. Also, Mike always writes the game thread. I’m sensing a trend.
Today’s game started out with a bit of a rocky first inning. Alex Rodriguez, later the victim of retaliation off the arm of Craig Hansen, committed an error that led to two unearned runs. With this error, Andy Pettitte nearly reached 50 pitches by the second inning, but then things turned around. The Yanks plated one in the third, two in the fourth and four in the sixth to break the game wide open. While a J.D. Drew home run in the sixth cut the Yanks’ lead to four, three runs in the eighth put the game away for good.
In the end, Andy Pettitte had another stellar outing in a season full of them. He threw six innings, allowing one earned run on five hits and three walks while striking out seven. His ERA now stands at 3.76, and he’s 12-7 on the year. Joba, Moose and Pettitte make a rather effective threesome, eh?
After Pettitte left, the bullpen — sans the useless LaTroy Hawkins — took over. While Jose Veras, echoing Kyle Farnsworth, pitched himself into trouble by allowing two baserunners in 0.1 innings, Damaso Marte, newly arrived from Pittsburgh, struck out David Ortiz on four pitches. Edwar Ramirez retired Manny Ramirez and threw a scoreless eighth while David Robertson ended the formality with a 1-2-3 ninth.
Offensively, eight Yankees scored runs, and Robinson Cano led the way. Cano, now 18 for 35 (.514) since the All Star Break, knocked out three hits and drove in three runs. He also walked for the first time since the break. As much as any pitcher on this team, Cano has been as responsible for the Yanks’ second-half surge as anyone else, and it’s comforting to see his average climbing up to .270. Slumps end; good teams win.
Later tonight, baring a trade, Sidney Ponson will take the mound in an effort to deliver the Yanks their ninth strength win. Ponson has allowed nearly two baserunners an inning and faces the very effective Jon Lester. He will have his work cut out for him. But these are the post-All Star Break Yankees and anything is possible. They’re tired in the loss column with the Red Sox, and they’re three games behind the Rays. They’re buyers at the trade deadline, and anything is possible.