A-Rod, Yanks roll over Royals

RAB Exclusive: Hughes pitching with ... glasses!
The Stretch Drive edition of 'Evaluation the Schedule'

As the Yanks enjoy a day off prior to a trip up to America’s Hat, I’m sure more than a few of them are thinking, “Why can’t we do that everyday?”

Today’s final — a 15-6 drubbing of the Royals — belies the early-inning struggles. Before Johnny Damon had a chance to step up to the plate, Mike Mussina had given up three runs, and it seemed like it was going to be one of those one-and-done starts for Moose. But, as he’s done a few times this season, Mussina bore down. He can taste 20 wins, and he knew he’d have to stop the bleeding early on to give the Yankee bats a chance to get back in it.

Well, the Yankee bats — missing for much of the season — weren’t about to let him down. The lineup turned over in the bottom of the first, and before Brian Bannister could catch his breath, the Yanks — behind a three-run home run from A-Rod and yet another blast by Xavier Nady — were up 6-3. Mussina pitched into and out of trouble in the second, and the Yanks went back to work.

Single. Walk. Walk. Grand Slam. There goes Bannister with a line of 1 IP and 10 ER. Bannister’s ERA went up by 0.60 runs today, and on August 17, that’s a tough act to accomplish.

The rest of the game would play out fairly painlessly. After that first inning, Mussina would give up no more runs and just two hits in the second. He’s now, unbelievably, 16-7 on the season and could, if the Yanks keep him on regular rest despite off days, have nine shots to win four games. Twenty is well within reach.

Offensively, the Yanks really needed a day like today. Derek Jeter went 4 for 4 to push his average up to .295. It’s the closest he’s been to .300 since May 22. A-Rod, 3 for 3, reached base all five times up and drove in five. His game-tying three-run home run in the 1st came amidst a renewed attention to his struggles this year with runners in scoring position. Brett Gardner went 2 for 5 and is now 5 for 14 since replacing Melky Cabrera in center field.

Up in Boston, the Red Sox were creamed by the Blue Jays, and commentators are wondering if Josh Beckett is injured. That Wild Card deficit is down to five games, and the Yanks are beginning to instill hope and faith in their supporters. We’ll find out soon whether this is just another round of false hope or if the Yanks are going to mount an improbable run. Here’s to hoping for the latter.

RAB Exclusive: Hughes pitching with ... glasses!
The Stretch Drive edition of 'Evaluation the Schedule'
  • Lanny

    I’d feel better if we got Friday’s game too. Can’t waste games like that against dead teams like KC.

    • steve (different one)

      that game sucked so hard on so many levels.

      christian getting picked off had to be one of the most frustrating regular season moments i can remember.

  • http://gftf2.proboards80.com/index.cgi Double-J

    Good job guys! For our next trick, let’s try beating up on some teams that aren’t in the basement of the league…

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

      Yankee fans are a fickle bunch. They manage to complain when they both lose to and utterly destroy the worst teams. Aren’t they supposed to do this to the Royals? And weren’t some of you hoping that the Yanks acquire Brian Bannister a few weeks back? It’s a collective bunch of multiple-personality disorder and no one really knows what they want except a World Series trophy.

      • http://gftf2.proboards80.com/index.cgi Double-J

        It’s kind of hard to be thrilled when you put into perspective that we beat the Royals after looking like garbage against *real* teams the last two weeks. By *real*, I mean teams that will likely make the playoffs.

        So yeah, kudos to our Yanks for crushing Brian Bannister…

      • Old Ranger

        I think we would all settle for a WS trophy, I know you and I would.
        Yes, we are a fickle bunch, we want this team to be the source of optimism…that we take 2 of 3 and 3 of 3 in some cases. Hell, let’s win them all…by the way, what is the longest winning streak? That’d make my day or months.
        Anyone against Carl being called up to start next week? Happy days@#$! 27/09?

        • 27 this year

          I think the longest winning streak is 21 games set by the A’s in like 2002 or something.

      • ChrisS

        It could fickleness, but it could also be the result of having a memory longer than a weekend.

        The Yankees have pulled this stunt before all summer long. They look like world beaters for a week or two, or a weekend, and then break your heart against the cream of the AL. Or when they go up against John Pfisterbottom, 32 year-old AAAA right-hander, with a 5.73 ERA.

        When she keeps teasing you, you gotta temper your expectations occasionally.

      • radnom

        Nah Ben you’re wrong here. No one complains about beating last place teams as long as we arn’t ONLY beating last place teams and nothing else.

        You have to admit, it is hard to get optimistic about a series victory when its the first one since Boston and it comes against the worst team we’ve faced since then.

  • BigBlueAL

    If the Yankees are serious about getting back into the playoffs this is a huge week coming up. They have 3 in Toronto with 2 of those games started by Burnett and Halladay (although wouldnt it be nice if they stayed in rotation and not pitch Halladay on Thursday) and dont know if people realize this or not but Toronto is only 2 games in back of the Yankees. Heck the Yankees could be in 4th place after their trip to Toronto!!

    To me the Yankees have to go 4-2 this week to make series vs Boston next week real meaningful (of course thats hoping Boston doesnt go better than 4-2 themselves this week). Cant wait to see who pitches Saturday, in a sick way Im praying its Pavano, what a story it would be if he helps the Yankees make an incredible comeback and make the playoffs….

  • Bart

    Te chances of Pavano making a positive impact are less than Rasner finding a way to dominate hitters —

    Pavano could be a spot starter with a 7-8 game lead – I wouldn’t trust him now as all games require the best pitching – not hoped for pitching

    but i understand the irony if he is used, is brilliant, and the Yankess have been saved three years of wear on his golden arm.

    The problem with Toronto is Halladay and Burnett give up 3-4 runs but Rasner gives up 5 —

    we need 1 run/zero run games from the pitchers — the way things are going Moose’s 3 run first would be enough to wreck the psyches of the 1-9.

    Every 18 game win streak needs the first 2 and they are in the bag – Play Tomorrow Win Tomorrow

    • Nickel

      “Pavano could be a spot starter with a 7-8 game lead – I wouldn’t trust him now as all games require the best pitching – not hoped for pitching”

      While that may be true, with all the injuries, who else do you want? I don’t think we have a Joba Jr. ready to go. The reality of the situation is that he’s probably our best option right now, scary as that may sound. In a weird way, we’re almost lucky to have someone with the Major League experience and skills that he has waiting in the wings, even if we all have to hold our breath hoping he doesn’t wreck his rotator cuff while brushing his teeth.

    • Old Ranger

      Of all the pitchers we have ready to start, Pavano is the best of them. People forget how good he was, before all the sh@%t hit the fan. If he comes back at 7/8ths of what he was, he is much better then Phil, Raz or Ponds. We may not like it, but thems the facts boys. The one thing to worry about is; how will some of the other players react? I say; they will be professionals and play just as hard for him as any other pitcher. 27/09?

  • pat

    personally id go with “play Today win Today” but thats just me.

  • http://2009 Haggs

    In addition to Beckett looking like crap and not getting above 91 too often, JD Drew came out of yesterday’s game with a stiff back.

    Tall order to take 2 of 3 from Toronto with Rasner and Ponson facing Burnett and Halliday, but if they can……Pavano can pitch them right back into contention on Saturday (I just wanted to see what that looked like in print).

    I don’t see how anyone but Hughes pitches on Saturday.

    • steve (different one)

      i think Pavano will pitch b/c the Yankees actually HAVE to put him on the 25 man roster if they can’t come up with a credible reason not to.

      i know that sounds crazy, but Pavano’s rehab assignment is done, he is ready to pitch, the Yankees are OBLIGATED to call him up.


      • http://2009 Haggs


        There’s a pretty good chance both Hughes and Pavano will be in the rotation by next week, depending on how Rasner does tomorrow and Sunday (even if he gets bombed tomorrow they’re probably stuck with him for one more turn).

        If he pitches poorly in both outings, my guess is they’ll give his next start to whoever of Hughes/Pavano doesn’t start Saturday, because Joba probably won’t be ready by then.

  • JohnC

    I’m hoping Toronto holds Halladay back an extra day so he faces Boston on Friday instead. Don’t forget Baltimore has been a thorn in our side all year and that will be a tough series. Thie week is a big test beforefacing Boston next week.

    • http://2009 Haggs

      That would be nice, but that’s not happening.

      Everything I’ve read has Roy pitching Thursday. I’ve seen nothing to suggest he won’t.

      As long as the Jays are mathematically alive, they would be stupid not to pitch Burnett and Halliday as often as possible – especially if they’re on regular rest.

  • http://deleted Randy

    has anybody noticed how bad boston’s pitching has been lately? its been hard to pay attention to that since the yanks have had their struggles but we still have a chance at this thing.

    • steve (different one)

      yeah, it’s interesting.

      what’s also interesting is how mightily Buchholz has struggled when in April/May everyone was so sure Buchholz was so much better than Hughes.

      • http://deleted Randy

        the only one who hasn’t been struggling is dice-k but i think he still has the control issues. they have been carried by their offense but maybe its starting to slow down a little bit.