Yankees fans collectively gasped during the first inning last night, as Joba Chamberlain took an Adam Jones comebacker off the knee. The concern started when Joba doubled over, ditching his hat and glove and holding his knee. Out jogged Girardi and the trainer. We could only hope that it was just tender, and that Joba could continue. He did, but after surrendering singles to Nick Markakis and Aubrey Huff it was clear to the guys in the dugout that Joba wasn’t all there. Girardi removed him — to Joba’s chagrin, it appeared — and called upon Alfredo Aceves, who had pitched two innings the night before.
Even with Aceves throwing well, the Yanks stood to be in for a long night. Aceves was only available for a few innings, and after that there were slim pickings until the last couple of innings. The Yanks got all they could out of Aceves, as he finished the first and then pitched the next three, surrendering three hits and a walk, but no runs. Next up was Jon Albaladejo, who is looking more and more like the 2009 version of Ross Ohlendorf. He allowed four runs in 2.1 innings and allowed the Orioles to get back into the game. Thankfully, Jose Veras of all people bailed him out, finishing off the seventh and pitching a scoreless eighth before Mo came on to close it out.
The night was made possible by the offense and their surging first inning. Adam Eaton is the kind of pitcher the Yanks need to beat up, and that they did right from the start. Back to back to back doubles by Jeter, Cano, and Teixeira put the Yanks up 2-0. After two outs and a Nick Swisher walk, Melky Cabrera slammed a double to the gap, plating Tex and Swish. He himself was caught between second and third. To some it seemed boneheaded, though others defended it as him ensuring the run got home. I’m not so sure. Boneheaded sounds like a more plausible explanation.
Tuesday night saw two of the longest home runs yet hit in the new Yankee Stadium. Alex Rodriguez parked one in the left field bleachers, and Mark Teixeira hit one way, way out into the second deck in right, barely missing the seemingly impossible to reach upper deck. In the second inning Robinson Cano didn’t hit one nearly as far as those, but it was impressive nonetheless. It was an absolute pea, getting out of the park in roughly a half second. It put the Yanks up comfortably, 6-0, and Hideki Matsui piled it on in the fifth with a second-deck shot of his own.
There were really only two things to complain about in that game, and one leads to the other. The obvious one is Albaladejo’s performance. With Aceves presumably on the shelf and Phil coke still not 100 percent (he was only available in an emergency tonight), he could join Edwar Ramirez in Scranton if the Yanks decide they could use another reliever. Since Mo pitched two days in a row and likely won’t be available (hence the lack of Bruney last night), swapping Albie for Robertson or Melancon would be a good idea. Neither has pitched since the 18th, so it’s a pretty obvious move.
The good news is that Joba’s X-ray came back negative. It’s just a bruise, and I’m assuming it’s going to be just a tad sore tomorrow. Girardi seemed optimistic about Joba making his next start, but that’s probably going to depend on how he feels during his side session over the weekend. It’s doubtful, but I wonder if they reconsider Chien-Ming Wang‘s status and decide to start him Friday or Saturday, pushing everyone back a day and allowing the Yanks to skip Joba’s turn in the rotation. Again, it’s unlikely, but it’s certainly an option.
Interleague play opens tomorrow night with the World Champion Phillies heading into the Stadium to wrap-up the homestand. It’ll be Brett Myers vs. A.J. Burnett.