If it sounds like a cliché, that’s because it is one. But tonight’s game was Yankee baseball the way it should be played. Good starting pitching, timely hitting and a crisply fielded game brought the Yankees a road win in Anaheim.
In a way, this was a game the Yankees needed to win. They didn’t need for any hope of making the playoffs; realistically, those hopes died when they didn’t sweep Boston in New York a few weeks ago. But they needed it for the morale of their fans. Lately, Yankee fans have been down on the team with their minds on the defending Super Bowl Champion Giants or the Brett Favre-led Jets. But baseball in New York will still be around for another 20 games, and we might as well enjoy them.
The story of the night was, obviously, Al Aceves. Making his first Major League start in lieu of Darrell Rasner, Aceves threw seven innings of five-hit ball. He gave up one run, didn’t walk anyone and struck out two. He threw just 89 pitches, 63 of them for strikes, and kept the Angels off balance all night. While his stuff seemingly isn’t that much better than Rasner’s, Aceves is a huge improvement over a pitcher who made way too many starts this year. He has a few more miles per hour on the fastball than Rasner does, and he pitches with more command and authority.
Offensively, the top four hitters on the Yanks went 7 for 17 with six runs scored, six RBIs and three home runs. A-Rod hit a monster three-run to give the Yanks a 4-0 lead, and Johnny Damon added a two-run shot in the seventh and a solo blast in the 9th. Two hours and thirty six minutes after it started, the Yanks wrapped up their 7-1 victory.
In the end, this game doesn’t really tell us anything about the Yankees except that they have more options than Rasner and Sidney Ponson floating around their system. Aceves showed what he could do, and the young arms are coming. All it needs is just a little patience.