A-Rod picks up Mo after a marathon

Hughes progresses, Pavano not so much
Melky on the bench

In the eighth inning, following Delmon Young’s one-out, three-run home run against Mariano Rivera, tonight’s Yankee game seemed like Just One of Those Nights. Lately, we’ve known that feeling all too well. Following a solid start, the Yanks’ bullpen steps in to blow the game while the offense can’t quite push across enough runs.

Luckily, tonight, the game ended in the Yanks’ favor when the beleaguered Alex Rodriguez, 0 for the night until the 12th, blasted a shot to straightaway center field. Following a Xavier Nady two-run home run and a 1-2-3 bottom of the inning for Edwar Ramirez, the Yanks walked away winners.

For the team, this win may yet turn out to be the game that saved the season — or at least delayed the inevitable — as the Red Sox blew a 10-run first-inning but still managed to win. The Yanks maintained the five-game divide separating them and Boston and narrowed the AL East deficit to eight. They’re down, but not quite out of it yet.

For the first seven innings, Mike Mussina and the Yanks’ offense were the stars of the game. With Johnny Damon — the AL’s leading hitter — back in the lineup after an inexplicable day off, the Yanks got off to a very first start. One batter into the game, and the Yanks were up a run. While the Twins would answer with two in the second, Nady picked up two of his four RBIs in the third. He now has 17 ribbies as a Yank. But of course, the other half of that trade would strike back.

By the seven, the Yanks were up 6-3. Mike Mussina threw 104 pitches in seven innings, allowing three runs on eight hits and his customary one walk. He struck out five. But Damaso Marte, called upon to pitch the eighth, couldn’t handle the job. Again. Marte gave up a hit, got an out, gave up another hit and then hit the showers.

And then disaster struck. Mariano Rivera is having a season for the ages, but since July 1, his totals are less than stellar. In 14 innings prior to tonight, he has a 3.21 ERA and two losses. Now, he can finally add a blown save to that line. After Young’s home run, Rivera made the most of it, and Jose Veras picked up the slack. By the time A-Rod homered and Nady added the icing on the cake, the bullpen had done an admirable job outside of the eighth.

For the Yanks, 2-6 on the road before tonight, this was about as big a must-win as they’ve had all season. With Darrell Rasner set to go this afternoon, they need every win they can get on the road right now. As the calendar pages disappear and the season marches inevitably closer to the end, the Yanks basically just have to keep on winning. Tonight it was nearly Mo’s turn to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, but in the end, A-Rod — the much-maligned A-Rod — stepped in to save the day. I’ll take it.

Hughes progresses, Pavano not so much
Melky on the bench
  • stuart

    huge win. huge hit from Arod. SInvce I am always on Arod’s failures in big moments I need to be fair and say huge hit.

    the lack of situational hitting continues and Cano’s base running faux paus also hurt tonight.

  • http://salarydump.wordpress.com Joltin’ Joe

    Is Hughes about 9-10 days away now?

    • TurnTwo

      apparently he can be lined up to either throw in Giese’s next turn in the rotation on Tuesday, or he’ll be held back, make one more start in Scranton, and be up to start on August 23rd.

      • jsbrendog

        why don’t they let geise pitch instead of rasner?? id otn get it why skip geise? he was very good last time and after 85 pitches should be ready for 100 this time…and rasner….well…is rasner

  • Raven

    I hope Moose slapped the back of his stupid teammates’ heads in the clubhouse.

  • TheLastClown

    I wonder how long this Marte adjustment is going to take, if its going to take at all

  • http://yahoo.com justin

    Thank god for arod and xavier nady. I fell asleep during the game. Woke up at 3 expecting to see a L.

  • TurnTwo

    in case anyone is interested, the USA baseball squad kicked off the tourney this morning, and in the 7th inning currently.

    i believe the game will be shown in its entirety on MSNBC at some point between 1pm and 5pm this afternoon on a tape delay.

  • steve (different one)

    that would have been an absolutely backbreaking loss. just devastating. you could see it on their faces when Mo gave up the HR.

    up 3 runs with Mo on the mound? after watching Boston win a crazy game?

    yet A-Rod’s HR isn’t going to show up in his RISP numbers, it’s not going to show up in the “clutch” formula that RAB linked to from RLYW.

    just something to keep in mind.

    that was a huge HR.

    oh, and i like Xavier Nady.

  • Geno

    I don’t think we should be using Marte as anything more than a lefty specialist. This whole idea that he’s better 8th inning option than Veras is nuts.

    And I’m with you Steve (different one), Nady’s been really impressive. Some think Nady’s too old, but we got Paul Oneil when he was 30 also. I think he’s going to be producing for a while.

    • JohnnyC

      Too old? 28-32 are your prime years. We got him at just the right time. As for Marte, I’m not sure why Cashman and/or Joe think this guy can be teh eighth inning dude. He’s perfectly serviceable as a lefty specialist. A manager’s got to know his players’ limitations.

      • steve (different one)

        it’s not nuts at all.

        Marte has NEVER been a lefty specialist.

        in his career he has faced 1135 Righties, and 801 Lefties, and his career ERA is 3.33.

        he is better against lefties, as are most LHers, but he has pitched very well for almost a decade facing plenty of right handers.

        he is struggling, no doubt.

        but this isn’t some sort of failure by Girardi (just talking platoon wise, not addressing the time he left him out there too long) or Cashman.

        Marte has NEVER been used a LOOGY. ever.

        he’s been a very successful reliever for a long time, and has now had a rough 2 weeks.

        also, in his very successful career, he has pitched the most in the 8th innings.

        so Joe is simply using him how he has ALWAYS been used.

        blame the player, not the manager on this one.

        • Geno

          That may be, but I still believe Veras is a superior 8th-inning option. In fact, when this pen is rolling, I’d prefer several options over Marte. He may have been used as an 8th inning guy in the past, but he’s in a pretty good pen now.

          • steve (different one)

            ok, i see your point.

            but Veras had also been shaky. remember he gave up those 2 HRs against Anaheim that really killed that game.

            you are saying Marte may have earned a demotion. i don’t have a problem with that.

            i was just saying that Girardi wasn’t Marte in any sort of NEW role. he was just using him how he’d always been used.

            but yeah, maybe it’s time to re-evaluate.

  • mustang

    The bottom line is the Yankees on 8/13/08 (64-56) on 8/13/07 (67-51) and if I remember correctly the schedule last year was easier at this time. So it’s going to have to be a hell of run to make the playoff, but nothing been easy this year.

  • pounder

    I hope they fire Girardi.

    • steve (different one)

      i hope your computer falls off your desk

      • mustang

        That’s funny !!!!!!!