As Robinson Cano lined a single up the middle to give the Yanks’ a walk-off 1-0 win over the Orioles, the team closed the book on a chapter of Yankee Stadium. No longer with the field at the southwest corner of River Ave. and 161st St. in the Bronx play host to day games. No longer will the Bronx County Court House preside over sun-drenched afternoon affairs.
The Yanks couldn’t have asked for better weather in late September for their afternoon send-off to the stadium. With the mercury pushing 68 degrees and nary a cloud in the sky, the Orioles and Yanks racked up zero after zero until the Yanks broke through in the bottom of the 9th. Two unlikely pitchers – Brian Burres with an ERA over 6.00 and Al Aceves with 20 Big League innings under his belt — kept the opposing hitters guessing, and the game came down to a battle of the bullpens with the Yanks’ pen pitching just a hair better than the Orioles’ relievers.
For the third time in three starts, Aceves threw six innings and didn’t allow much. The Orioles knocked out just five hits against the Mexican righthander and worked three walks. Aceves struck out three and didn’t allow a run. On the season, Aceves sees his ERA drop to 1.38, and many Yankee fans are writing him in as a presumptive starter next year. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
To me, the biggest question mark surrounding Aceves is the “luck vs. skill” debate. Right now, Aceves’ BABIP is a meager .217, and it’s highly doubtful that this mark would stand. His three strike outs today gave him just eight in 19 innings as a starter, and the 2:1 K:BB ratio isn’t stellar. Today, he recorded four outs on the ground and nine in the air. While in his first start, he induced a Wangian 14 ground balls in seven innings, if his fly ball rates are up and his strike outs remain low, he’ll start to give up more runs.
Now, I don’t mean to sound negative about Aceves; he’s shown better stuff and command than Darrell Rasner or Sidney Ponson did. But once the league gets a long look at him, we’ll know for sure what we have. At the worst, he’d make for a great long reliever next year.
Otherwise, the offense had nothing today. The Yanks mustered four hits and just seven base runners against Brian Burres. But what else is new? This team has long had a tendency this season to make bad pitchers look good. At least today they came out on top.
With one game left at Yankee Stadium, the Yanks are riding the hot hand. They’ve won seven of their last nine at home and are enjoying good pitching and timely hitting. With tomorrow’s emotional stadium finale on tap, today’s was a great win.